Sunday, May 5, 2013

College Street Plaza Already Smells to High Heaven

When Mickey Haddock was elected the mayor of Florence, he stated he wanted UNA students involved in decision making for the city. How about we start with having some everyday citizens involved in decision making as well?

99% of the population probably didn't know about any plans to close half a block of College Street until they read it in today's TimesDaily. It might be the greatest idea since sliced bread and tampons, but when there's already an architect's sketch of said project, one tends to feel that our city fathers aren't asking for input. We're seriously thinking Mayor Haddock may be channeling the ghost of Eddie Frost, who never met a money pit he didn't like.

Let's look at just a few problems with this project:

1. Architectural services don't have to be bid--that's the current law; however, when a project is the size of the proposed new plaza, isn't it wise to bid it out, or at least to get some different ideas? How was Donnie Phillips selected for this 650K project?

2. The city is currently scrambling for funds to build a bridge to re-open part of West College Street for easier downtown access, but they want to close part of the thoroughfare before it reaches Court Street? (Thanks to Dennis Sherer for pointing this out.)

3. One aim of the project is to offer pedestrians easier access between the county courthouse and the Florence-Lauderdale Government Building. The last time we checked, the one block of College Street which separates the two is not part of the Autobahn. We're unaware of any pedestrians losing their lives to local motorists who don't understand traffic signals. 

Donnie Phillips states he's been asking "what if" for twenty years*. Now all citizens of Florence should ask why...

* The former First Southern Bank building wasn't purchased for use as a government building until 2007, so Mr. Phillips has been contemplating closing College Street for fourteen years before that? Yep, something smells.


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