Speak Out Loud NA

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Information on the YMCA/Scribner Place

After hearing Mayor Garner say in Monday's Council meeting that there is no division within the city regarding the YMCA/Scribner project, and he has no idea what the impetus for Ben's Courier Journal article was, I became determined to get more information.
Knowing that Garner, while a CM, questioned the project, I wanted to know where and how it started, where and when it changed, and where and how it now stands.
I found a newspaper article dated November, 2003 in which Mayor Garner announced he would commission an economic feasibility study of the [YMCA/Scribner] project. Does anyone know if that was done?
I’ve also looked at various public documents regarding the YMCA/Scribner Place project that has been interesting reading.
In trying to track down the facts, I had to go back and start at the conception of the project. This took me back to August of 2002 when then-Mayor Overton referred to the project as the "Main Center".
At that time the intentions were that the ..."City would like the YMCA to build a facility that includes the natatorium (Y project) with City assistance, and to operate and manage the Y project in cooperation with the Parks Department."
At the council’s "workshop" last week it was said that the Parks Dept. would take control of the water facilities only if an anticipated arrangement for total oversight by the YMCA wasn't reached.
The Overton document also clearly outlined the anticipated role of the Redevelopment Commission in getting the project started in acquiring the land by floating a bond for a redevelopment project located within New Albany's Redevelopment District (YMCA/Scribner).
In March of 2003, the Redevelopment Commission indeed adopted a bond resolution "...approving the issuance of bonds payable solely from Caesars Foundation Grant proceeds, in a principle amount not to exceed $2,450,000."
I assume this is the $2.5 million allocation Mayor Garner refers to as being currently "under budget" for acquiring the land and completing environmental cleanups.
The bond resolution was done "...in order to procure funds to be applied on the costs of certain improvements including the construction of a YMCA/Natatorium complex, an overhead pedestrian plaza, public parking facilities, and the demolition and/or environmental cleanup of "brownfield" developments in the area...".
The administration's 7th version of the project omits the Plaza, and the parking garage, and proposes a $3 million dollar hole cut into the floodwall to serve as riverfront access.
Now the administration wants to get another bond for $15 million dollars, guaranteed with property taxes, and dedicate $400K of EDIT funds per year to this project.
Also, I noted that while the 1st $1 million dollar installment from the Caesar’s Foundation Grant went to the Redevelopment bond payment in 2003, the 2004 & '05 disbursements of $1 million dollars from Caesars went directly to the YMCA.
I will continue with more as I work my way through the paper trails.


  • It IS dizzying, isn't it? But this is important stuff to try to get a grasp of.

    I offer two (perhaps oddball) questions:

    re this $3 million hole in the floodwall... a tunnel leading to WHAT? By analogy, if I happen to have a crap back yard, maybe I should think twice about building a deck, if you will, that overlooks it or leads to it. Is the land directly south of this proposed "hole" WORTH an egress? Or will it be?

    re the scratching of a parking garage...whoa Nellie! I am certainly not a fan of the architecture or appearance of smelly, chippy and dirty asphalt and concrete... but... don't you almost HAVE TO HAVE some sort or parking garage?

    By Blogger curmudgeon, at 6:49 PM, June 09, 2005  

  • I've noticed that Mr. Baylor has been gracious enough to promote your Web log quite regularly and to offer a link to Speak Out Loud NA in his links section.

    Have you ever considered reciprocating that courtesy? I realize his site doesn't allow for irresponsible and unaccountable comment postings, but it does provide an important perspective on the issues facing this city.

    Setting that link takes about 75 seconds, so time shouldn't be a problem. Or have I misunderstood the purpose of your site? I note that you seldom are in agreement with Mr. Baylor's sentiments. Would a link to his site be outside the rules you have established here?

    By Blogger All4Word, at 6:56 PM, June 09, 2005  

  • emerson,

    The hole through the floodwall is to connect the area to the eventual Greenway. As such, it's a part of that project. It's not a part of the Scribner Place development. There is a planned overlook tower.

    By Blogger bluegill, at 7:20 PM, June 09, 2005  

  • Laura,

    You again failed to mention several things:

    The Caesars money will used to pay off the bond. The city will actually only be spending EDIT money during the two years that the Caesars payments go to the Y. For the remaining portion of the bond period, the EDIT money will held as an emergency back up to the Caesars money. Once Caesars has made its yearly payment towards the bond, the city is free to spend the $400,000 each year on any pay-as-you-go projects that EDIT rules allow.

    Your wording seems to suggest that the city will be spending the $15 million AND $400K a year AND the $1 million a year from Caesars. That's not correct.

    As mentioned above, the floodwall hole is not a part of this project.

    You very recently stated that the first two Caesars payments went to the Y. Now you say the first payment went to the city. What gives?

    The use of property taxes as collateral (not as a primary source of payment) will save the city 3-4 million dollars over the life of the bond.

    You didn't mention the EPA grant of $400,000 that the city received towards clean up costs.

    You've also expressed concern that the city would run the pool. Now you express concern that the current mayor is trying to negotiate a deal so the city doesn't have to. That seems inconsistent.

    By Blogger bluegill, at 7:49 PM, June 09, 2005  

  • Say All4word speaking of being courteous, I notice you can freely post on Laura's weblog but nobody can post on yours ? Now isnt that being a bit unfair to chastise Laura when you wont extend the posting option yourself? I gues that is why you are called All4word, or is it all your words?

    By Blogger Tim Deatrick, at 9:35 PM, June 09, 2005  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Tim Deatrick, at 9:57 PM, June 09, 2005  

  • Tim, it isn't unfair at all. If you had your own blog at blogger.com, you would know that there are options that can be enabled or not, depending on one's preference.

    The web log itself can be used a number of ways, and one would be a personal diary. Laura's chosen a different way, enabling all comments. I've chosen yet a third, requiring registration and knowledge of the poster's identity.

    By Blogger The New Albanian, at 11:32 PM, June 09, 2005  

  • Tim,
    Please refrain from antagonizing. Your last comment had nothing to do with discussing the topic introduced here.
    If you want to help, respect the rules I have set forth. No personal attacks.

    I knew I could count on you to point out everything I "failed to mention".
    I'm sorry I didn't get all the information in the first posting. As I noted at the end, I intend to continue with more information as I plow thru the paperwork I have collected.
    But I do have a question. If the EDIT money is only being earmarked as an emergency backup to the Caesars money, for making bond payments, then why is it listed as an additional source of funding?
    I don't know the answer to that one yet, but I intend to find out.
    As for the natatorium, I am, and always have been, concerned about the Parks Dept. taking on the task of operations and oversight.
    I would venture to say that a unified project with consistent and experienced management, and oversight, would stand a better chance at success in the forecasts of most good consultants.
    Did I not mention the $400K grant for environmental clean-up in my other posting from the "workshop" meeting? I'll have to check.

    By Blogger East Ender, at 2:29 AM, June 10, 2005  

  • Laura, allow me to clear up a misconception and then I'll stay out of your hair.

    My blog, Volunteer Hoosier, invites anyone to contact me by e-mail or otherwise if they wish to make remarks regarding my commentaries. If the remarks are pertinent, informative, or entertaining, I will find a place to post them as original commentaries. To my knowledge, Laura has never had anything to say about my blog and I've had little to say about hers. We don't link to each other. We don't correspond. We don't debate.

    Roger and Laura, on the other hand, have an ongoing correspondence and reciprocity is called for in linking to one another.

    I don't clutter other people's blogs with my postings/comments. I have my own. I do provide a link to blogs that I find to be informative and/or entertaining. In fact, I check this one on occasion to see if it meets that criterion. Someday, I'm sure, it will mature to be something I can recommend to my readers.

    I don't link to everything I read regularly, however. Should you, Tim, or anyone else care to establish a blog, I will look at it and see if it is something my readers would like. If so, I will add a link.

    By Blogger All4Word, at 11:18 AM, June 10, 2005  

  • Dear Laura: I think that it is very sad that other bloggers have to keep badgering you as you are trying to bring information out to the public. Where have these guys been during the past few years when plans for Scribner were being made? Also--- now-- how have they become such experts on the subject? Would they please bring their informant out of the closet so that we all can judge their
    reliability? Laura -keep up the good work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:04 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • Three cheers for Laura: She is trying to help the citizens of New Albany to know what is happening in our city.

    Best of all: Laura uses plain American language that we all can understand.

    There cheers for the red, white and blue.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:10 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger The New Albanian, at 4:22 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • Bluegill,

    Thanks for saving me the trouble of posting the financial information. I still don't understand why Jeff and I are able to get the information and no one else can. Granted, I have a research background, but this info isn't all that hard to get if you start asking around nicely and pay attention.

    I would like to know what people would do if they felt like they had more information, the Mayor was defeated at the polls, and Valla Ann had a 24hr cable news network. Then what? What would you be for?

    By Blogger Brandon W. Smith, at 8:30 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • something no one has considered is the potential negative impact a property tax guarentee has on an economic development prospect that may be considering a relocation or expansion to New Albany, a property tax guarentee for an economically unproven investment such as Scribner Place sends the wrong message.

    The council must reject this proposal, better yet adopt the Coffey Plan, get the city out of the project completely

    By Blogger Tim Deatrick, at 11:45 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • Tim-- on this issue, you are making common sense.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:19 AM, June 11, 2005  

  • As tiresome as it is to remind people of this -- and it's something that Tim himself knows is true, since he attended the last city council meeting -- the much misunderstood "property tax guarantee" is only one of three different proposals up for city council approval with respect to Scribner Place.

    I believe he's wrong, and willfully so, but at least Tim stands by his name and takes the heat, which is more than the hordes of purportedly courageous anonymites here are capable of doing.

    By Blogger The New Albanian, at 10:28 AM, June 11, 2005  

  • new albanian,
    Please stop attacking the folks who come to this blog to participate.
    We all know you don't like it here, but as explained, that's too bad.
    This blog is set up for ALL people to use.

    By Blogger East Ender, at 12:49 AM, June 13, 2005  

  • all4word,
    I do not provide a link to NA Confidential because most folks here seem to know it's out there. Mr. Baylor has spent an unusual amount of time here arguing with me.
    Furthermore, are you suggesting we return the "courtesy" Mr. Baylor has done with his name calling and character bashing?
    We don't do that here.
    Also, I resent your remark about "irresponsible and unaccountable comment posting".
    Have I ever come to your blog site just to yammer about how awful you and your ideas are? How rude.
    This blog allows anonymous participants so that every person in New Albany can have their say on the ISSUES.
    So, stick to the issues. I am tired of arguing the integrity of my decisions about the blog.

    By Blogger East Ender, at 1:00 AM, June 13, 2005  

  • another point to ponder: The Indiana Constitution prohibits any publc funds to be used for the benefit of a religious or theological organization, of which legally the YMCA is an FBO (Faith Based Organization ) and therefore is subject to this constraint. If the City of New Albany uses any public funds for the proposed YMCA/ Scribner Place location it could be challenged that this is a viloation of the state constitution since some of the city's funds are derived from the state and the city ordinances clearly state that the city can not violate the state constitution, could be a fun one for the attorneys to watch.

    By Blogger Tim Deatrick, at 11:04 PM, June 14, 2005  

  • ...but certainly not tired from maintaining the integrity of the blog.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:06 AM, June 15, 2005  

  • Curious, but is Laura saying that all opinions are of equal merit, and there should not be discussion to determine which ones are factual and which ones aren't?

    Isn't that fairly weird?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:14 AM, June 15, 2005  

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