A Wolf By Its Ears, Still…
Why do I have to be the one to raise the objections? Don’t the others see what I see, that the city has to live within its means? Once again, it seems that we have that old “gimmie gleam” in our eyes. That gleam is, of course, the Riverfront Park.
Seven and one half months ago I posted “a wolf by its ears.” You might read it for a bit of background. I just don’t get it. We paused the entire riverfront project because of not enough rock. About $800,000 of not enough rock. PRDA was given the task to straighten the mess out and give the city a new way forward. And they worked hard. I think the other commissioners were really spooked at that $800,000 cost over-run last summer. Tonight we have a new way forward, and after you add all of the monies still to be spent we are still at, are you ready for this, $800,000 short. From the PRDA proposal it appears we are $481,582 short. However, this number does not include the Boating Infrastructure Grant match from the city to the tune of $320,000. Added together it amounts to $801,582 of your tax dollars to complete the riverfront. Except it is not a completed thing. My guess is that the camel has his nose under the tent, and I‘m sure there will be more taxpayer expense to come as we dress the riverfront.
I tried, unsuccessfully, an idea from PRDA’s own cost figures. It is called scenario #4. To wit: If the city would vote to lose the gangway, transient boat dock, fuel service, in other words all the water activities, it would appear we could have a completed park with all the amenities at the desired level above flood stage for approximately $3.5 million. This is well under the Federal Highway Grant of $3.8 million. No more taxpayer money. A completed park that all of us could enjoy.
And hey, we could use that $800,000 as a down payment on turning the old Executive Inn area into park space that will connect to the riverfront park.
The city must live within its means. It isn’t pleasant being the naysayer, but I have to do what I think is right for the taxpayer. Spending has to pass my filter for my “yes” vote.
Tonight we voted to get the grant agencies to bless, or not, the proposed revisions to the riverfront. Better to ask permission than to plead for forgiveness. As a husband, I get this concept.
I expect to be out-voted on the riverfront project in the coming weeks. I’m not surprised, given the votes last year on this project were 4 to 1. I’m used to it. This vote allows the city to advertise for bids to be taken on the riverfront project.
Once the bids come in we will review and vote again. Hope we don’t get the same surprise as last year.
And one final fact you may not get a riverfront booster to mention. The total pleasure boat traffic through the two locks was down 21% for 2013. A whopping 628 boats came through Barkley and Kentucky Locks, for the entire year. Doubt they all made it to the Paducah riverfront.