Sunday, November 25, 2007

Finishing Strong

Sprint to the finish
Link (JG)

"Harrison Square, of course, has been the biggest, most visible and most controversial achievement within his lame-duck period. Richard oversaw its conception and steered it through a maze of bureaucratic, legal and contractual roadblocks - all after announcing he wasn't running again. Construction has started, the official ground-breaking is this week, and despite widespread opposition that helped oust a veteran City Council member who supported it in this month's elections, Harrison Square is a done deal."
"Cynics, opponents and even some of Richard's fans might say he is hustling to pad his legacy. There's little doubt, for example, that Richard pushed hard to get Harrison Square past the point of no return before his term expires Dec. 31.

But “I don't think it has that much to do with ‘leaving his legacy,' ” said Deputy Mayor Mark Becker, who is also working diligently to accomplish Richard's goals. “It has more to do with the fact that he doesn't want to leave things undone.”"
"Another issue is far more visible than the sewers - the North River development northwest of Fourth and Clinton streets. Officials from both parties want to see the vacant former OmniSource property developed for multiple uses, possibly including an indoor water park, sports complex, a sci-tech learning center and/or residential housing. The city's $25,000 for an option to buy the land for $4.3 million expires with Richard's term, and the mayor clearly would like to do more than renew the option.

“I think the public will be well served by the city owning it,” he said. Richard's administration came under fire during the recent city elections for refusing to release environmental studies of the property, but the mayor noted that the studies are not yet complete and said they belong to the property's owners, not the city.

“It's an old site that had rail yards and recycling,” Richard said. “From what we're hearing, it's relatively clean for that type of site.”

Any agreement to buy the property would likely include details of any necessary cleanup."
Related DFWB coverage:
Sit-Down With The Mayor - An interview with Graham Richard conducted by DFWB in May of 2007