Monday, February 9, 2015


fort wayne riverfront project

the ash pit

"bush's brain"

RIVERFRONT DEVELOPMENT – THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE REALITY: The current Administration is pushing Riverfront Development and have been since 2007. [1] Once the Legacy Funds hit the scene, it was full steam ahead. This project is definitely exciting—of course, it would be even more exciting with parasails being pulled behind speedboats. (Hey, I can dream with the best of ‘em…LOL!) But as exciting as this project is, it presents lots of problems: (1) homeless relocation, (2) building in a flood plain -- hey, what business is going to want to locate a business in an area that floods? Insurance rates will be high for starters. (3) The City has a federal mandate to build the sewage tunnel which was likely underbid and will likely have cost overages. Money being diverted to riverfront development is being diverted away from the EPA required sewage tunnel. (4) This phase of "downtown development" will be funded in part by Legacy Funds, probably some state and federal grants, but mostly from taxpayer dollars, including the Food & Beverage Tax. (5) The environmental condition of the old Omni Source property—remember how the City/Mayor spent some $20,000 to $25,000 to the Rifkin family for the option on that property (or was that the amount the Rifkin family paid to underwrite one of the Mayor’s campaigns??)---which will require a clean-up. And really, I could go on, but I won’t.
The reason I won’t is because we need a reality check here.
All the media blitz surrounded Riverfront development is to distract us from two troubling trends:
(1) Tim Ash (of Ash Brokerage) and Eric Doden (of Indiana Economic Development Commissions) dual involvement in the Ash “Cash & Slash” Brokerage project---now being called not-so-affectionately by some residents as “The Money Pit”—and Cityscape Flats. Now, let’s look a bit more closely at this. For the past two years, circa 2013, the City has been publically parading the Ash Brokerage project around as the latest jewel in Downtown Development with its multiple developers—one for the residential side (formerly Hanning & Bean), one for its commercial side (Ash Brokerage), and one for the multistory garage (City of Fort Wayne). The project will cost some $100 million, give or take a few million here and there. Delays could have caused a significant rise in cost—so significant that Hanning & Bean pull out.
Meanwhile, the City, Ash Brokerage, and Eric Doden are working on two other major “economic development” projects: World Baseball Academy ($1+ Million from Legacy—which bypassed the Legacy Review Committee compliments of two City Councilman) and Cityscape Flats (a housing project that would have competed in scope with Hanning & Bean’s residential component). [2] (For those who don’t know, representatives from Ash Brokerage sit on the Board of Directors of the World Baseball Academy and are conveniently a “Financial Review Advisor” for this project as well. And guess who sits on the Capital Campaign Steering Committee?? Eric Doden and Adam Henry—the Mayor’s nephew and local criminal defense lawyer.) The simultaneous and a very coincidental timing of all these projects begs a couple of questions. The most prominent being – Why would the City, Doden and Ash “develop” two major projects with competing residential components?
(2) The second thing we are being distracted from is the $150+ million sewage tunnel project, mandated by the EPA. When Graham Richard vacated office and Henry took office, a deal was struck with the EPA that essentially gave Fort Wayne more time to deal with the sewage tunnel project due to Henry being the “new mayor.” Eight years have passed and during that 8 years little if anything has really been accomplished—although preliminary pre-construction planning has begun.
The thing here is that Indy had a similar mandate and it too sought a sewage tunnel as its EPA-mandate solution, that tunnel too was originally bid for $150 million (and ended up being double that), and the Mayor’s right-hand-man at City Utilities, Kumar Menon, was involved in the Indy project. Matter-of-fact, while living in Indy, Menon began giving campaign contributions to Henry and after Henry got elected, Menon was given a job here in the Fort to deal with our EPA mandate. Menon was instrumental in the final phases of the Light Lease Settlement (where the Legacy Funds matriculated from).
Guess what happened to Indy? First, as already stated, the original contractor underbid the job---and it ended up costing Indy twice the amount of money. Second, a worker died on the job. Third, to pay for the overages, Indy took steps to privatize its water utilities---by first eliminating collective bargaining of those city workers. Why? To make the utility more attractive to private companies – no union workers means lower labor costs.
Privatizing any previously government-held asset to a private company means that company is going to look at the bottom dollar revenue and expenditures. Making a water utility profitable after a $300 million dollar investment means the company has to run as lean as possible, while keeping costs low and while increasing revenue. The water quality decreased and the water rates increased.
Think that won’t happen here? News flash – It already is! The project has been underbid. Collective bargaining of city utility workers has been eliminated. Water quality – despite all those nifty “award winning water” commercials with Henry voice-overs—has decreased. Water rate fees—the hidden ones that most people really don’t pay attention to—have increased. The person overseeing Fort Wayne’s project is the same guy who oversaw Indy’s sewage tunnel project.
So why isn’t this making the news? Because there just isn’t enough room/air time to talk about the reality of these other two projects, the promise of the Mayor doing something about the homeless situation come April, all the "wonderful" other examples of Downtown Development, aaaaaaaaaaaand Riverfront Development. Hey, only so many press conferences can be held with the Mayor flanked by multiple members of City Council and various VIPs basking in the glow and glory of camera flashes. Just sayin....wink emoticon
Folks, this is election season—be sure to ask your current Mayor and members of City Council what the heck is going on here? What are they doing with your taxpayer dollars, TIF funds, Legacy Funds, Food & Beverage taxes, etc. And be sure to ask all the candidates what their position is on these various topics.
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  • You, Kenneth White Jnr and Chris Ohneck like this.
  • James A Jim McCoy Jr. I agree with you about development, but river front development is not new. It started with Headwaters Park. Even Foster Park was a form of river front development. I saw pictures of earlier times in Fort Wayne where large groups of people were swimming in the river, gathering on the bank as though it was a beach. What has been happening is that the goal has been to draw people back to the rivers. Now people go to the lakes. If this is going to work, people need a reason to go downtown to the river instead of one of the lakes. The rivers are just one of the city's neglected resources. The key is to develop the rivers without the usual DID brand of corruption and overspending
    23 hrs · Like · 3
  • Ed Rose Gina or other candidates is find out from the city how much, if any deep coring samples was done in regards to the deep sewage channel. With few or none rest assured the over run costs will knock everyone for a loop! Mostly rate payers!
    11 hrs · Like
  • David Christopher Roach ALL THOSE WOOD DECKS- will make great shelters for the homeless TO LIVE UNDER.. heck- they can even scavenge the scraps of food, change, etc. that fall through the cracks .. a lot more comfortable than living under a bridge; and hundreds more feet to spread out under.. Its a windfall for the HOMELESS!! yay john crawford.( satire..)
    8 hrs · Like
  • James A Jim McCoy Jr. Hey, Hall earned that free land from the Republicans fair and square. Screw the homeless
    8 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • Ed Rose To hear the city to say PHASE ONE is removing the trees and invasive brush along the river bank near Wells St. That way more people can see the river.
    So what is going to slow the river from eroding the river bank? 
    Then again the city will spend tens 
    of thousands of dollars on lime stone to stop summer erosion. But come winter the stone subject to being frozen in with river water will be pulled, by ice movement into the main river bed. Or a major ice break up will just push the limestone to where ever it wants.
    So to just to remove trees and brush will help speed up erosion of the riverbank and filling in the riverbed as it settles out.
    7 hrs · Like
  • David Christopher Roach we will have to do something with all that limestone till from "Drilling ST MARY'S TUNNEL" (sounds dirty, doesnt it?) the drilling project- is slated to run from west forster park, more or less- under the st mary's river; along the river course- all the way to the sewer/water pollution control plant. at dwenter age- the diameter will be large enough that it willhold storm water run off and CFO flows- and then processed/treated over several days or so after any large storms..
    SO- if anyone has ever watched HOGANS HEROES; THE GREAT The Great Escape, or any other WW2 POW movies- we all know if you dig a hole/tunnel- you have to do something with the dirt.
    SO- we take all the limestone- throw the scraps into the river beds- as long and as deep as needed; solving the "what to do with all the drillings; and also- now that the river has its own artificial limestone "lining"- covering the MUD;CLAY ;SILT- naturally occurring "muddy river bottom; well- now the river will appear to be clean and sparkly and blue/greenish..TA DA!! 
    unless the river caves in somewhere flooding out the tunnel; wrecking the machinery in a watery grave; etc- lots of things can fail; epically. 
    BOTTOM LINE- THOUGH-- we are being sold a bill of goods- SOLD DOWN THE RIVER. 
    their real plan - is to cut down all the trees, pave it all from end to end- both sides-(sell the wood chips to mulch and newspaper and cardboard pulpwood buyers..) install these "promenades"- what a fancy smancy word for board walks; bars up and down both sides-. 
    wheres the transparency? who are all these 400 folks who braves a blizzard for the SWA "dog and pony show? - I would crawl through a blizzard naked ; if it meant i would make a couple hundred million bucks fro doing so- all the greedheads who willcash in on the PUBLIC DOLE from this WATERFRONT BOON DOGGLE.. 
    "we have to put up millions in LEGACY cash- to gofundme/kickstart this project? let the major domos raise the cash. i have better things to spend my cash on..
    1 min · Edited · Like
  • David Christopher Roach AND- so- who is going to put up the money to re-locate the COCA COLA COMPany? i have to agree- the buildings there will make a very nice LOCOMOTIVE SHOP; if thats where the 765 will be housed. better still- is by BAKER STREET- but anywhere closer to town , instead of waaay out in east of new haven- i concede will draw in many more of the CURIOUS AND INTERESTED- to be put to work.
    NOW- IF WE CAN GET RID OF THAT CRAZY NUTCAKE PEDDLER JOHN POPP; and his crazy "aunt millie"- chock full of fruits flakes andnuts- - send ms sunbeam where the sun doesnt shine.. tee hee- way out in one of these tax payer subsidized "shovel ready sites- we can free up more land and building sites formore private sector downtown development..
    1 min · Like

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