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'It's downtown, anything can happen'

By Todd Franko (Contact)

Published February 16, 2013

Untitled document

The story in Saturday's Vindy about the sewer line mess downtown is a lesson for the city in a couple ways.

As the city was expressing concern two weeks back about poor information from the state regarding a brine spill in the city, downtown business owners were equally concerned about the city not giving them the best knowledge of a sewer project that has the core area torn upo and blocked off.

Here's a story on the issue from Saturday's Vindy.

The downtown business owners aren't entirely accurate as there were various alerts. I saw a city email to about seven businesses, including names of two businessmen who said they had no notice. It was in The Vindy twice; on TV and radio.

But the effort fell clearly short given the new investment in downtown and impact of a project of this size — and the fact that it's just 200 steps from city hall.

The city's project boss, Charles Shasho, was shuffling around on Day 4 of the work doing his best to address concerns. On that day I saw Shasho, I heard him outline some things that would be adjusted.

On Day 9, one adjustment still wasn't made -- as I stared at it from my favorite front-window table at Roberto's.

It was probably for good reason, I assume. It's a complicated project. And as Shasho said on Day 4 when I saw him — "when it's downtown, anything can happen."

But it's because of that truthful quote, the city needs to overplan with its new business community and develop a solid plan.

There is a public works boss, a downtown coordinator, a councilperson, a mayor, a council president, and a contractor. Somewhere in that pool, there can be some brain burst to say "let's get the business community together for coffee and map out the plan."

And because it's downtown, develop a Plan B. And because it's downtown, a Plan C.

On Day 4 of the project when I was down there, a lamp post in front of the new pizzeria had just been hit, and sent into a tree at a 30-degree or so tilt.

On Day 9, that pole sat in the same place — untouched.

There's a better way to manage downtown.





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