Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pushed Back

North River project delay
Link (JG)

"Mayor Graham Richard has decided not to buy land for the much-anticipated North River development by the end of his term, and the delay is best for the city and citizens.

Considering the property’s $4.3 million price tag, the decision should rest with the officials who will be responsible for the development: Mayor-elect Tom Henry and a City Council with four new members."
"But much remains to be settled, including:

Money. Like Harrison Square, the development will most likely involve both public and private money. But with Harrison Square, the developers were known and were ready to invest. No private developers ready to put money into the North River project have been identified.

Environmental issues. The property is the former site of an industrial scrap yard, and at least some environmental cleanup is likely. The city continues to study the extent of the cleanup necessary and has yet to tell the public what the studies have found so far. Any cleanup will have to be part of the purchase agreement.

Price tag. The city needs to seek an appraisal for the land to determine whether the $4.3 million price is fair.

Calhoun Street. Planners hope to extend Calhoun Street north to State Boulevard, with an accompanying 2-foot-wide strip of water beside the street. This is a huge, complicated project, and its need should be explored further before the city buys the land."
"The North River development remains vital for the city and offers a chance to enhance the value of the city’s rivers. All the pieces are not yet in place, and Richard is right to let Henry and the next council determine the project’s fate."