Thursday, April 13

Courthouse Decision a fait accompli

The courthouse decision has been announced, and the new courthouse will be on the West side. David has a nice discussion about the new location online here.

Note that I say announced, not made. I think the decision was made months ago. Actually, I wrote that this location was the most likely placement for the new courthouse back in September, in this post.

As in many cases in our fair city, I suggest to you that the public comment and bid process just was window dressing on a backroom deal made in the first place. The article in the paper said that no downtown property owners submitted a final bid. That really doesn't tell the whole story. I know a few downtown property owners who didn't bother submitting a bid because the GSA told them that their property would not be suitable even if they did submit.

I am glad that the West side will see some much needed development. However, that gladness is balanced by sadness for the difficulties that this decision will place on small businesses and eateries in the downtown. From Bert and Ernies on 2nd Avenue South to Good Eats on 2nd Avenue North; and for many great family owned businesses between the two, harder times may be ahead.

However, it doesn't have to be that way. The downtown jobs that will now move to Central Avenue West can be replaced. At a minimum, there may be available space for a large employer on the upper floors of the post office. As a community, lets do what we can to make a zero-sum, win-lose situation into a win-win.

1 comment:

dona stebbins said...

Aaron, I believe part of the decision rested on limited access to the site. For security purposes, the West Bank site seemed to have more to offer. The downtown people who may have been out of the process early on should be thankful that they weren't left hanging.
Contrary to the newspaper report, I WAS NOT part of the review process, and knew about as much as the man (or woman) on the street until Monday.