We’re in a bit of a lull here at the moment, although it is not necessarily preceding a storm. As I’m sure every reader of WE knows, last week, Mayor Franklin elected to table the bond issue relating directly to the creation of the one-stop building, as well as those relating to improving other city buildings and fixing streets. If you want a refresher the Tribune coverage was good.
The Mayor says he is re-evaluating the whole concept of a one-stop building, including the idea of buying and renovating an existing downtown building. This could change the amount needed to repair older buildings, but since this would also save considerably compared to building a new building for $10.5 million, there may be additional funds available for street repairs. It’s a 3-D puzzle and the Mayor will be presenting a new plan to Council soon, as waiting until 2013 would increase the cost of issuing the bonds slightly.
I think the Mayor is trying to do the right thing. He has legitimate problems with existing city buildings, but he also recognized that the one-stop building was unpopular and became fiscally risky once RG Steel went bankrupt and further weakened the City’s revenue streams; RG was the Water Department’s biggest customer — spending over $1 million per year.
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If you’ve never seen Orchard Place, (above with Councilman Greg Bartholomew) you owe it to yourself to drive by this week before it is no more. It is a dead-end block off Scott Street just a block east of Park Avenue. Today it looks like a post-industrial urban nightmare on steroids, but nearly every house on it is scheduled to be torn down and the work will start soon.
The Trib put it on the front page yesterday but failed to mention that both Matt Martin of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and Gregg’s Garden volunteers worked with Trumbull County and Warren city officials to change the demolition specs slightly so as to allow the demolition contractors to spread wildflower and native plant seeds post-demo rather than the cheaper grass seed they normally use.
“A frivolous waste of tax-payer money!” you say?
Hardly. This very small added expense will be recouped in maintenance savings in the first year post-demo. Kudos to Julie Green at TC and the Mayor and SSD Enzo Cantalamessa for an taking enlightened approach.