New Albany: West-end site eyed for new government center, by Daniel Suddeath (The Tribune).
John Lopp hoped to attract anchor tenants to a planned development in New Albany’s west end when he announced the design last year.
While the official start date for phase one of the project hasn’t been announced, interested buyers are coming to the table, and they include the governing bodies of Floyd County and New Albany.
While opinions on the best location for new government offices may differ, what's clear is that an increased presence of professional workers and residents in the West End is a threat to the sustenance of 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey's political career. Oft positioning himself as the protector of wee ones against the proliferation of imaginary bogey men, Coffey went to great lengths to kill this development. Luckily, it didn't work.
His claims that no one in the West End wanted to sell are disproved by the existence of contracts and options to transfer ownership of 47 parcels of real estate and a projected $20 million in phase one investment reveals his initial attempt to rezone blocks of already commercial property to residential as the self-serving inanity it was.
I hope West End voters are paying attention. If and when the West End gets new restaurants, a grocery store, and park, they'll know that their council representative fought against the very possibility of them. In a neighborhood that's struggled with negative stereotypes for decades, Coffey has sought their continuance at the expense of a more positive future. Coffey's political success is dependent on failure, namely the self-inflicted type that makes residents believe he's the best they can do. And yet, in this instance like so many others, it's when Coffey's wild-eyed self-aggrandizement fails that betterment actually occurs for both the West End and the city as a whole.
Wouldn't it be nice if winning in the West End wasn't contingent on defeating their own council representative?