Southern Indiana Realtor now president of Develop New Albany; Kopp hits the ground running, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)Damned spell check … it doesn’t tell you when you’ve correctly rendered the incorrect word, but the transposition has me thinking: A better downtown may not be my “sole” interest, but certainly better beer is a “soul” interest, and combining the two seems like a reasonable career move for me.
Mike Kopp’s eyes grow wider and his words come out a little faster when he talks about the potential for downtown.
Chosen as president of Develop New Albany in January, Kopp’s passion for seeing the city’s core bloom is hard to hide.
“My soul interest is building a better downtown,” Kopp said.
I’m also a member of develop New Albany’s board, and the organization has made substantive progress during the past two and a half years. As with the city itself, there’s plenty of room for improvement, and much yet to be done; however, permit my observation that DNA’s board is filled with hard-working, civic-minded people who believe in progress and are giving it their all. Without that, there’s little point to any of it.
What every reader needs to understand is that this community’s singular, signature failure remains an almost genetic unwillingness to organize for strength and to cooperate across boundaries, which sometimes are tribal or political, but more often are purely imaginary, and infuriatingly subject to injections of malice and mistrust at the proverbial drop of a hat.
It’s senseless … and somehow enduring.
Meanwhile, the anonymous troglodytes prattle on about the city being broke, as though this constitutes a unique excuse to vegetate, and yet our primary deficiencies as an urban aggregation must be reckoned in inexplicable absences of willpower and imagination, not strictly in dollars.
Organizations like DNA, the UEZ and the city’s own development offices aren’t perfect. But they’re trying. Efforts are underway to place all these mechanisms at one table for the purpose of cracking skulls and curing the dysfunctions of finger-pointing and sniping, so that we might get on with the business of accomplishing something while the window of opportunity remains ajar. I for one applaud these efforts, and hope perhaps they might serve as inspiration for the city’s neighborhoods to do the same.
If not, we wouldn’t be making the investment in downtown. You see, we've been able to round up the money, and still the prime component is the willingness to plan and the desire to succeed. Without the fire in your belly, the money's destined to purchase failure -- and failure's just not an option.