Friday, July 31, 2015

ON THE AVENUES: Homegrown New Albany, but not in a good way.

ON THE AVENUES: Homegrown New Albany, but not in a good way.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Last week I was walking the alley between Spring and Elm, headed east. True, the garbage can be smelly in high summer, but the stretch between St. Mary’s and the old Reisz school isn’t so bad.

Approaching the eternal aesthetic and drainage nightmare otherwise known as 15th Street, an expanse that summarizes the daily streetscape squalor that we as a community apparently have decided to accept as irrevocable, I cursed yet again at being unable to see to my left owing to a huge expanse of foliage.

It wasn’t a tree, but one of those nasty, fibrous weeds masquerading as trees, or perhaps steroidal bushes. I call them “garbage trees,” and usually sprinkle epithets around references to them. They’re invasive and seemingly impossible to kill.

Speaking of murderous, be aware that walkers in auto-centric New Albany understand quite well their obligation to be the vigilant “seers” in our dysfunctional transport equation. I couldn’t begin to enumerate the times I’ve seen drivers not paying attention, this being another factor that we as a community apparently have decided to accept as irrevocable, such is the need to shave seconds off the next visit to the drive-through.

Peering around the greenery for perhaps the 20th time this summer, I looked across 15th and saw the Yield sign and RR Crossing marker, both erected atop a heavy wooden pole for the benefit of westbound alley drivers. I’d seen it oft times before, but why wasn’t there one where I was standing?

I looked up and abruptly realized the matching sign pole indeed was there, albeit enveloped and completely hidden by the giant amok garbage tree, which I couldn’t see past when walking the alley – and if it was an issue for a walker, just imagine the issue for a driver, who wouldn’t be able to see cars, bicycles or walkers, the latter barely having sidewalks to use in the first place.


I’d recently been chided for making viral photo sport of a poke weed plant leisurely growing from a storm water drain in a city that just spent $9 million for a water park where you can’t swim, but where neighborhoods experience pop-up splash blocks each time there’s a big rainfall.

One thing led to another, and the following day I took a saw and pair of lopper shears, walked down the alley to 15th Street, and did to that garbage tree what needs to happen to the political career of the recumbent incumbent come November, which is to say it was systematically deconstructed.


I’m neither implying street department slacking, nor suggesting that every blade of grass or weed can or even should be cut. What I will say is this: If the Board of Public Works and Safety intends to spend its time dithering over street pianos and pretending to be the arbiter of public art, then it might consider being truthful and dropping “Safety” from its title.

If Warren has to buy new business cards, tough.

Clearing brush, removing trip hazards, keeping the sidewalks clear of automobiles parked there by the terminally ignorant (and periodically spiteful) are not sexy tasks – except they’re fundamental needs, and constitute what local government is supposed to do, as opposed to posing as concert promoter, amusement park operator and aquatic center carnival barker.

Fundamentals?

They're precisely that. It’s why the best athletes in the world continue to practice. The fundamentals have to be done, and they have to keep being done. The city’s infrastructure needs to be managed, and its physical assets tended.

The mayor’s favored Wizard of Oz costume should be reserved for the annual Halloween party, not weekly duty high atop the 3rd floor.

---

I’ll close today’s column with Jeff Gillenwater’s succinct introduction to a cogent quote, as provided by an unnamed correspondent, who is referring to a photograph of overgrown grass in and near city streets.

If you want to know how New Albany works, understand two things: 1. the following comment and 2. that there are any number of "first families" who still consider themselves pillars, a bunch of political party stalwarts, and any number who qualify as both who won't respond to this kind of truth at all as we dump tens of millions into the sort of frivolous projects for the already wealthy where they like to cut ribbons and pat each other's derrières.

"That's been the view from our front porch for decades. My husband mows the sidewalk every time he mows the lawn.....the parts of the sidewalk that don't have huge chunks of broken concrete bending up. (You could break your mower blade if you try to mow there. So, parts of the sidewalk get the weed wacker treatment).

“Wait....there's something missing in this photo....oh, yes.....the healthy stand of Johnson grass that grows from the busted asphalt on our entire street. That grass is super-healthy this year from the many episodes of standing water that sets on the asphalt because the sewer drains don't take care of the problem when it rains. We don't use rain gauges. I just measure the number of inches away from our front step that the lapping flood water has crept.

“In our front yard, my husband and I have one of the few remaining working vintage gas lights in New Albany. Did you ever see a gas light with flood water lapping at its base in the middle of the night with the moonbeams shining down? If you use your imagine, you can imagine yourself standing on a riverbank with a beautiful lighthouse in front of you. And, we don't need the waterpark. After a good rain, we could water-ski down (our street) in the standing water out front.

“It's never really mattered who the mayor was. It never mattered what political party was in office. This is the first impression that many people get when they come to New Albany. This is the reflection of a city that doesn't care. So, let me be the first to say....this is not a new problem. Some of us taxpayers have been watching this ongoing deterioration with every mayor who has ever been in office.

“We have lovely old homes, and we do our part by making our property look good. But, the views from our porches are infuriating. This is the reflection of a city that has its priorities askew, and has for decades. I hold little hope of ever seeing improvement in the infrastructure. The deterioration has simply been too great. It's gone on for way too long.

“Regular basic city maintenance is a thing of the past. No mayor will ever be able to overcome the mess that's evolved around us. The city can't afford to fix everything now. Fixing all of New Albany's infrastructure now would be like trying to pull a junker car out of a junk yard and trying to restore it to a show-quality vehicle. It would cost a fortune."

This might well be true. Hell, it probably is true.

But someone has to try.

---

Recent columns:

July 23: ON THE AVENUES: A citizen's eloquent complaint about the parking debacle at River Run reminds us that planners and brooms go hand in hand.

July 16: ON THE AVENUES: Louisville Beer, then and now ... and cheers to Rotary.

July 9: ON THE AVENUES: A mayoral petition as prologue to history.

July 2: ON THE AVENUES: "Water on the brains: Much less for far more will keep us swimming in it."

June 25: ON THE AVENUES REWOUND: Red scarf, white shirt and San Miguel beer (2012).

June 18: ON THE AVENUES: These 10 definitions will help you speak local politics like a native.

NYC express buses, and how the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative cannot do them here.

I mention this not because the idea of express buses is equally relevant to New York City and metro Louisville.

Rather, as explained at the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative meeting I attended two Mondays ago, out of a total of $434 million in wish list items compiled by One Southern Indiana's committee (and taking them at face value, and ignoring the hours we've yet to spend trying to determine whether the initiative itself is worth consideration), $252 million would go to make River Ridge even more humongous than it is already, while the amount pledged to developing regional public transit, apart from expanding the Greenway's pedways before it's finished crossing Silver Creek, comes to ... that's right.

$0.00.

Notions like this must wait for a later plan. In short, excepting the Greenway, the bulk of this unprecedented investment, which probably isn't, although we shan't talk about it now, goes toward reinforcing the prevailing auto-centrism that already plagues us.

I almost forgot, but in New York City, they're adding express buses.

Express Bus Service Shows Promise in New York, by Michael Kimmelman (New York Times)

Last week, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled its first express bus line: the 86th Street crosstown, running back and forth between York Avenue on the east side and Broadway on the west. There was a news conference to celebrate, at Columbus Avenue. Polly Trottenberg, the mayor’s transportation commissioner, hailed “modest investments” yielding dividends in terms of saved time for long-beleaguered riders, to which Ben Kallos, a city councilman, added that time saved translates into revenue for businesses whose taxes help pay for further transit improvements: a virtuous circle.

The route is not actually full-dress express service. It doesn’t include a dedicated, camera-policed lane all the way across town or traffic lights programmed to stay green when buses approach. There are just short segments of bus lanes that let buses jump traffic queues at strategic places. Even so, with 24,000 daily riders, 86th Street is notorious for endless lines of passengers waiting to swipe their cards. Any upgrade helps.

Occupy Public Art, and Free the New Albany Street Piano.


It's a new community at Facebook.

Free the New Albany Street Piano

We are friends of the New Albany Street Piano, not its creator. We merely want to set the Street Piano free.

Are there more important issues to discuss? Of course -- and that's the whole point.

I am currently obsessed with Sleaford Mods.



This and any other articles and videos about Sleaford Mods likely contains language some readers may find offensive. It's part of the package, folks.

Don't get squeamish on me, because this is fascinating.

Grammar Wanker: Sleaford Mods 2007‑2014 by Jason Williamson – review (The Guardian)

... Among critics in particular, there remains a longing for music that deals in hardened social comment, as evidenced by the feeling of relief bound up in the belated recognition of the Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods. In early 2014, their first notice in the Guardian hailed “the most uncompromising British protest music made in years”, and the fact that the album they released the previous year was titled Austerity Dogs only heightened the sense of the cavalry coming over the hill. Their songs were – and still are – bound up with the arse-end of modern work, the grimmer aspects of weekend hedonism, and a very contemporary awareness of horizons shrinking at speed. Who else in modern English music is doing anything similar?

Jason Williamson speaks of the way he began taking "mental shapshots" of his own failure.

Sleaford Mods: 'Most days I'd only have enough money for a Mars bar and a can of Special Brew' (The Guardian)

 ... The eureka moment came one morning in spring 2006. "I had no money. I'd just have enough for a Mars bar, most days, and a can of Special Brew. And I wrote a song called Teacher Faces Porn Charges, about going to the shop in my pyjamas, to buy the Mars bar and the can."

A friend, Simon Parfrement, (nicknamed "Parf"), and still an integral part of Sleaford Mods' set-up) suggested combining Williamson's words with a loop lifted from a Roni Size record. "And it worked, straight away," he says. "It was better than anything I'd ever done. I took it home, and I couldn't believe how good it was. That's how Sleaford Mods was born."

The breakthrough in 2013 ...

Sleaford Mods ... AUSTERITY DOGS (The Quietus)

... When I say culture, I don't mean something that can be packaged up and sold back at people so they accept their own inferiority. Austerity Dogs isn't "we're all in this together" claptrap, nor some expensively educated pillock holidaying in other peoples' poverty like they've never heard 'Common People'. Rather, it's soaked in the impossible realities of the everyday, and it reworks that into something truly astonishing. Each song is a stream-of-unconsciousness from the collective dream-time of the dead-end worker who's pissed off with his boss, pissed off with shit drug dealers, pissed off with aggro cunts in clubs, pissed off with "Brian Eno – what the fuck does he know?" It's Chris Morris with a class consciousness, laying bare the surreal tapestry of horrors that face the working class in Britain today.

... and the follow-up in 2014.

Sleaford Mods ... Divide and Exit (Pitchfork)

... A recent tweet from Sleaford Mods succinctly sums up both the position they find themselves in and the feeling they reflect in their music: “This is our time.”

Another album is out in 2014: Key Markets.

Williamson works up a spectacular level of poisoned anger across these 12 songs – about the vapidity and duplicity of modern party politics, and about crap bands, but just as often about unnamed nemeses from his personal life. (NME)

An earlier video concludes. Don't we all know one?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Photo essay: Only one of these things is a liability concern for the Board of Public Works and Safety.

Neither this trip hazard on 10th and Elm ...

... nor this one on the opposite corner.

Not this semi truck invading sidewalk space.

No, not the underbrush obscuring this sign (and intersection).

Faded bike lane markings by an interstate-grade one-way street? Nope.

Cars parking on the sidewalk? Not even close.

You guessed it: The board's big liability concern
is a street piano/public art project. 


(Unfortunately, this is not The Onion, and we're not joking)


Mr. Padgett's Blues: "10-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Safer—and Still Move Plenty of Cars."


Narrow lanes are safer

Cars in wider lanes tend to go faster

Narrow lanes still carry lots of traffic

Evidence and factual research keep piling up. Jeff Gahan remains aloof, refusing to publicly embrace evidence and factual research.

Remember: You are invited to listen as Dr. John Gilderbloom preaches his "gospel of things urban" on Tuesday, August 4, at the library.

The smart money says that City Hall will boycott this meeting. It's what you do when you're completely out of touch, but hey -- let's all go swimming.

10-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Safer—and Still Move Plenty of Cars: The case against 12-foot lanes in cities, in 3 charts, by Eric Jaffe (City Lab)

... a new study by civil engineer Dewan Masud Karim (spotted by Chris McCahill at the State Smart Transportation Initiative) ... evaluating dozens of intersections in Toronto and Tokyo, Karim linked lower crash rates to narrower lanes—those closer to 10- or 10.5-feet wide than to 12-feet. Sure enough, wider lanes meant speedier cars, and yet narrower lanes were perfectly capable of moving high volumes of traffic.

He concludes:

Given the empirical evidence that favours ‘narrower is safer’, the ‘wider is safer’ approach based on intuition should be discarded once and for all. Narrower lane width, combined with other livable streets elements in urban areas, result in less aggressive driving and the ability to slow or stop a vehicle over shorter distances to avoid a collision.

Pavement penis drawings: Where public art, pothole repairs and bureaucrats meet.


According to Main Street resident J in a mid-July Fb posting:

"These pictures are pot holes located on the 6th street alley and the parking lot in between Main and Market next to Lifespring. Lifespring insists these pot holes are the cities responsibility to fix, especially the ones in the alley itself."


Yesterday, J offered an update:

"I was told 2 weeks ago by Warren V Nash that he would pass along the (pothole) info. Considering he's the chairman of the Board of Works, I'm not sure who he is going to 'pass it along' to. Either way, 2 weeks later and still no resolution."


The answer is obvious. The Board of Public Works and Safety currently is on All Stations Red Alert status against the impending street piano invasion. Consequently, it may take a while to address J's potholes -- unless he threatens to put a street piano inside one of them.

Better yet, we should all emulate the protagonist in this story from the UK.

Mystery artist highlights Bury potholes with penis drawings, by Amelia Butterly (
Newsbeat reporter

A mystery "road artist" has been drawing pictures of penises around potholes in Bury as a way to get the council to fix them.

"They [potholes] don't get filled. They'll be there for months," says the artist, speaking to Newsbeat anonymously.

"People will drive over the same pothole and forget about it.

"Suddenly you draw something amusing around it, everyone sees it and it either gets reported or fixed."

You mean like this?

Photo credit: BBC

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

12-foot high street spam? Not a problem, so piss off, spammer.


I enjoy parading the booty through the streets.

Make no mistake: Jeff Gahan is the "driving force" behind the Bored of Works' inability to fathom street pianos, public art and modernity itself.


There always are self-assigned community pillars who believe it is their solemn duty to safeguard the community from terroristic threats, such as that posed by a painted piano on a downtown street corner.

In their interior worlds, where Velvet Elvii and Happy Meals define the very extent of artistic aspiration, there is a mortal fear that "respectable" folks will laugh at them for allowing modes of expression that cannot by categorized by dull conformity, and worse yet, expression that resists being linked to the address on the campaign committee flier for the express purpose of gathering the monies necessary for the next campaign, from whence their need to control ultimately derives.

When in reality, these officious guardians of neutered conformity are the ones being laughed at. In fact, they're plain silly, and getting even sillier. That they're Democrats makes me laugh even harder.

Daniel Suddeath explains that in New Albany, surreal small-pond bureaucratic Philistinism is an inexorably expanding universe: New Albany again delays street piano request.

It's been highly instructive to observe the Bored of Works contriving one bumbling excuse after another to cover for its down-low orders to maintain proper channels for expression.

We don't understand this art ... OMG, who'll tune the piano? ... wait, ask the preservation people for their permission, 'cuz, you know, the piano is old ... no, how about Develop New Albany -- yeah, that's right (chortles in corridor afterward), DNA does all that goofy merchant support stuff we see going on even as we're driving out to the Cracker Barrel in Sellersburg.

Earth to the Bored: DNA has, er, WHAT to do with any of this?

What's next, Warren V Nash?

Ask Animal Control?

Jeeves?

The Oracle at Delphi?

Tell you what: I'll personally make Hannegan's mandated "Gahan for Mayor" campaign donation FOR HER, even though I'm running against him, if that would somehow help you arrive at a position somewhere proximate to a CLUE.

Jeeebus. It's an art project and a street piano. Exactly what does nuclear physics have to do with it?

Of course, if Hannegan had only let the mayor think it was his idea, then we'd have a street piano on every corner in town -- player pianos, that is, just to make sure no one departed from the chosen street music and the top-down sacred political writ.

Here are previous NAC links to the street piano saga.

Life is like a street piano. What the Bored of Works gets out of it depends on how they "nay" it.

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part 95: It's the return of 18-wheeler pinup porn and utter Bored of Works indifference.

Seattle alleys, New Albany street pianos and the overdue purging of bureaucrats.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Who do I invoice for weed whacking, the railroad or the city?


Damned if there isn't something in there. Wonder what it is?


It's the intersection of the alley and 15th Street, between Elm and Spring.

Still smarting from my rebuke at the hands of the pokeweed lumberjacks, I'm not letting this one go. Tomorrow afternoon, I'll tote my tools and start slashing. It'll be great exercise. There's also a "We Buy Houses" sign halfway up a utility pole on Spring.

I'll get that one, too, because I really detest street spam.

But listen, guys: If someone decides to pay me back for my citizen's initiative, can you just make out the check to the campaign?

Why is Marvin Miller not a member of the baseball Hall of Fame?

In Jim Bouton's seminal Ball Four, he observes that the famously eccentric (and highly talented) genius/pitcher Mike Marshall once authored a university term paper titled "Baseball Is An Ass."

Marshall's paper would have been written during the mid-1960s, just before Curt Flood challenged the reserve clause -- and as the late Marvin Miller took the reins of the players union.

Quite simply, Miller belongs in the upper tier of most transformative figures in the history of baseball. Naturally, he isn't in the Hall of Fame, primarily because of the owners' resentment of a man who enabled them to garner unprecedented wealth by first forcing them to share some of it with the men on the field who made it all possible.

I've written about this several times, and it still gripes my cookies.

Baseball Hall of Fame as corrupted banana republic: Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth and (not) Marvin Miller.

Baseball. I love it, bit it's still an ass.

Baseball Union Chief Marvin Miller Awaits His Due, by Richard Sandomir (New York Times)

 ... But if (Curt) Flood, a center fielder, merited being honored for sacrificing his career for the labor rights that he believed all players deserved, the next logical question is: Why is Marvin Miller, the union chief who transformed the baseball players’ union into a fierce labor force, not a member of the Hall? Miller, who died in 2012, has been rejected by various veterans committees an absurd six times — five during his lifetime and the sixth in 2013 when his candidacy was spurned by at least 10 of the 16 voters who elected Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre.

Baylor for Mayor: On parking "opportunities" in downtown New Albany.

Thanks to JS for the Google Map view.

There is a popular perception that downtown New Albany has a parking problem. This perception is mistaken, and results from two factors, both of which involve an abdication of responsibility.

First, downtown merchants and business owners have been unwilling or unable to become better informed about parking, and to speak as one voice about parking. Worse, not all of them have policed parking on behalf of downtown's better interests, as when employees (and owners) are allowed to use customer parking spaces.

Why would you do this?

Second, beginning with Doug England's third term, the city of New Albany has chosen not to enforce any semblance of a level playing field as it pertains to downtown parking. When an employee uses a parking space for eight hours during prime time, there are no consequences.

Why would you do that?

Too many employers do nothing. The city does nothing. Both point at the other, expecting solutions, when neither will expend capital to find them. Free parking comes at a price, and the sooner we recognize this fact, the easier it will be to do something.

It seems almost as though neither the merchants nor City Hall wishes to actually lead by deciding what works best for the most users in the broadest physical space, implementing a policy, using the bully pulpit to educate and inform, and connecting parking solutions to an overall plan for multi-modal use of streets and sidewalks.

We have no overall multi-modal street and sidewalk plan, no goals, and no notion of what vitally necessary steps like Jeff Speck's downtown street network proposal entail in terms of preparing ourselves for implementation and making walkability an aspect of design, rather than an accidental outgrowth of serendipity.

Parking's a part of this. Public safety for all users is a part of this. All of this currently is being neglected, and this neglect will cease during my administration.

ADA, anyone? Parking is not permitted on sidewalks. This IS a sidewalk, right?

I have no beef with the business at the corner of 15th and Spring, and I suspect it hasn't dawned on anyone working there to consider a potential access issue on the sidewalk out front owing to employee parking habits.

Primarily, this is because the city of New Albany has neglected maintaining the sidewalk. We can afford a $9 million water park, but not a gallon of paint.


As with the (until recently) ignored crosswalks on nearby Elm Street, it's another instance of simple striping. At least once since we moved into our current residence in 2003, the city painted yellow stripes on the tarmac to show the sidewalk's configuration in the absence of a road verge.

Emulating local Democratic Party grandees, it has been allowed to fade into nothingness.

Here are three recent views looking west, with the photos taken on different days.




I fully understand that New Albany's Board of Public Works has a full slate of ongoing befuddlement as to who's going to tune the street piano, which just isn't an option, because art shouldn't stray past the boundaries of velvet Elvis and dogs playing poker.

But I believe the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to make the boundaries of the sidewalk clear and accessible. Perhaps the chairman can add this one to his burgeoning agenda.

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part 96: Let's make them safe, legal and rare.

Conversely, Jeff Gahan can continue sitting on his hands, doing nothing.

Sounds like a plan.






Larry Bird has an elephant's memory.

Interestingly, Springs Valley went to the Final Four in its first year of consolidation, although this doesn't detract from the sheer entertainment value of Larry Bird recalling a teammate's missed free throws 40 years later.

Didn't Bob Lane play at Springs Valley, too?

Larry Bird on 1-on-1 vs. Michael Jordan: 'He'd kill me', by Matthew Glenesk (Indy Star)

Dan Patrick: Explain that whole “Hoosiers” phenomenon in Indiana. How small was your high school?

Larry Bird: Oh, I don’t know. We were one of the smallest in the state. What it is, back in the day, back when I played, they didn’t have class basketball, now they do. So the dream was to always be good enough to play against the big schools. That’s what we tried to do. Try to be good enough to have the opportunity to play a Crispus Attucks or a Jeffersonville or New Albany, but unfortunately I played with a kid that kept missing free throws at the end of the game, and we didn’t get there.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Metalkova -- you know, near where those soldiers were drinking that time.

Photo credit: The article.

The landscape of my blogging milieu is littered with half-finished series of essays documenting past travels. Among these sketches are bits documenting my only visit to Ljubljana in 1987.

Red Star, Black Mountain: Welcome to Slovenia (Part 2)

Red Stars, Black Mountains: Mellow Ljubljana (Part 3).

It was Yugoslavia then, and now independent Slovenia, and as I was reading Niranan's article about Metalkova, it occurred to me to find the location at Google Maps.

Metalkova, the former army installation, lies right across the street from Ljubljana's train station, and this provides a direct connection with my late night arrival, way back when.

How an abandoned barracks in Ljubljana became Europe’s most successful urban squat, by Ajit Niranjan (The Guardian)

Just across the river from the sleepy old-town of central Ljubljana – a delicate maze of cobbled streets, medieval fortifications and colourful churches that characterise the many cities once occupied by the former Austro-Hungarian Empire – lie the dozen or so dilapidated buildings that make up what has become known as Slovenia’s second capital. On first glance, it is hard to believe it’s actually occupied. There are no signs directing visitors to its gates: the rubbish-strewn streets are eerily empty in the daylight, the graffiti covering the walls unread. But after dark, it becomes the focal point of the country’s alternative culture scene.

This is Metelkova Mesto – one the largest, and arguably most successful, urban squats in Europe. Sprawled across 12,500 sq m of an abandoned army base, the self-proclaimed city has become the leading centre of underground music and art in the region. Vivid, cracked-tile mosaics adorn the walls of the complex’s galleries and studios; rusty sculptures, fashioned from broken bike frames and upturned oil drums, cover its concrete gardens. And at night thousands of students and artists congregate to revel in its streets and bars.

Every year Metelkova Mesto hosts more than 1,500 alternative events in its illegally occupied buildings, catering to a wide spectrum of subcultures, from theatre performances and punk concerts to disability workshops and LGBT club nights. Together with the adjacent museum district, owned by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture – its vast courtyard showcasing the more traditional side of local nightlife, with young couples swing-dancing in the evening sun – the former barracks occupies a special place in the nation’s hearts.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Newspaper editorial board: "Floyd County should consider tax increase."

Back in the day, she'd/he'd been all over it. We've been abandoned.

Oddly, this editorial seems to have flown entirely under the radar. It doesn't appear to have been posted at Facebook, and so there are no outraged comments or self-immolation threats.

We're guessing that this one is Chris Morris's baby, as he customarily covers the county beat.

— The News and Tribune editorial board is comprised of Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Shea Van Hoy, page designer Claire Munn, Assistant Editor Chris Morris and Assistant Editor Jason Thomas. Responses can be sent to shea.vanhoy@newsandtribune.com

Floyd County government recently has become the exclusive domain of Republicans, who possess an austerity fetish that makes German finance ministers look like hereditary Saudi playboy princes -- though it must be acknowledged that in the not so distant past, the Heavrinite strain of "Democrat" contributed much conceptually to the notion that revenue purely is an option.

Meanwhile, city government is controlled by Adam's merry band of DemoDisneyDixiecrats, who have contrived a borrowing-fueled capital projects bonanza designed to produce social media-ready photos of building porn with commensurate campaign finance-tie-ins. It may not be a tax increase strictly as such, but it's surely a huge credit card/TIF bond debt for future generations to service.

This is why a third way is so desperately needed hereabouts.

Not starvation, and not unsustainable extravagance, but spending sensibly on fundamental infrastructure needs that benefit the greatest number of users, and stand to support quality of life and economic development aims rather than work actively against them.

OUR OPINION: Floyd County should consider tax increase

 ... As the council moves forward on the 2016 budget, there needs to be a long-term vision to keep from having to put a Band-Aid on the problem each year. As one county official at a recent meeting said, “We just can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”

The council should consider a tax increase — which could come in the form of a Local Option Income Tax or a wheel tax.

"As safety and livability become more important ... the case for converting one-way streets into two-way streets (is) a compelling one."


The first paragraph tells the story, even if we've previously referenced what follows.

I'll continue referencing it, because one-way arterial streets foolishly tether New Albany to a street grid that actively works against our best interests in terms of revitalization.

Period.

Is this an opinion?

No, it isn't. Research by John Gilderbloom and William Riggs, coupled with verifiable experience all across the map, combines to indicate otherwise. For those unclear about the nature of opinions, this link is a good one: No, it's not your opinion. You're just wrong. Irv, if you're reading ...

And, as you may already know, councilman John Gonder has invited Dr. Gilderbloom to come to New Albany and speak.

You are invited to listen as Dr. John Gilderbloom preaches his "gospel of things urban" on Tuesday, August 4, at the library.

Jeff Gahan's abject failure to act on this fundamental infrastructure truth isn't the only reason why he needs to be forcibly returned to selling veneer for a living, but it's significant among them. Still, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, his fawning sycophants insist that he really does "get it" even if he cannot bring himself to say so publicly.

That's not good enough for leadership, is it?

The Many Benefits of Making One-Way Streets Two-Way ... Safer traffic, for one thing, by Eric Jaffe (City Lab)

From a traffic engineering perspective, one-way streets are all about speed. Without the danger of oncoming traffic, one-way streets can feel like an invitation to hit the gas. But swift traffic flow isn’t the only factor by which progressive cities judge their streets, and as safety and livability become more important, a number of metros have found the case for converting one-way streets into two-way streets a compelling one.

Count Louisville among the believers. In 2011, the city converted two one-way streets (Brook and 1st) in the Old Louisville part of town. Though originally designed as two-way streets, Brook and 1st became one-way after World War II, in keeping with the car-first engineering of the time. In championing the change, local official David James cited the need for calmer streets and economic development.

A pair of planning scholars has evaluated just how well the safety and economic claims held up following the street conversions. In a word: very. William Riggs of California Polytechnic State University and John Gilderbloom of the University of Louisville report that compared with nearby, parallel streets that remained one-way (2nd and 3rd), Brook and 1st experienced fewer collisions, less crime, and higher property valuations.

Another city-county financial impasse: Animal shelter and control services.

The News and Tribune's most recent mention of the most recent instance of seemingly recurring city-county funding disparity (is this LP scratched, or is the ganja too strong?) came on June 15.

Fleshing out a funding dispute: New Albany, Floyd County still at odds over animal shelter money, by Chris Morris (N and T)

NEW ALBANY — In 1999, New Albany and Floyd County governments signed an interlocal agreement, forming the New Albany-Floyd County Animal Shelter. As part of the agreement, funding the shelter would be based on population. With that in place, and following the 2010 census, Floyd County is responsible for 51 percent of the shelter’s budget while the city is to pay 49 percent.

But Floyd County Auditor Scott Clark said it’s not that simple, and he points to 2014 to make his point ...

Uni-gov? Really? At any rate, a New Albany resident has asked about funding for the animal shelter and animal control.

I'm interested in knowing how you would attempt to resolve the financial situation/impasse between the City and the County in regard to the Animal Shelter and Animal Control Services. The County is in serious arrears, but they and the City are equally vested in the physical building, and County residents use the services, although not to the degree of City residents.

The Floyd County Animal Rescue League is also a signatory to the binding Interlocal Agreement. NAFC Animal Control and Shelter is governed by the 5-member volunteer Animal Control Authority, 2 appointed by the Mayor, 2 by the County Commissioners, and 1 by the Rescue League.

The situation is complicated and both sides appear to be dug in. Your thoughts?

It certainly does seem complicated, and I'm researching it. In the interim, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the matter. As an independent candidate for mayor, I don't feel bound by political tradition, only compelled to consider what works. Help me learn more, please: baylorformayor@gmail.com

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Does Coffey covet Shanghai's "European-style ghost towns"?

Photo credit: The article.

Jumping Jehosaphat -- don't let Adam and the Redevelopmentals see this, or we'll be mowing downtown shotgun houses to build replicas of the Magic Kingdom.

You think I'm kidding, but is the decision-making process in New Albany much different from the top-down diktats in China?

Shanghai's European-style ghost towns – in pictures (The Guardian)

Just a decade after six European-style towns were built to absorb Shanghai’s increasing population, China’s slowing economy has left them mostly deserted. James Bollen’s images record the failure of these empty copycat boroughs.

Shout it out loud: "Peeing Is Not a Crime."


If urban density is the goal, and walkability a means to an end ... if folks are going to be roaming around outside ...

Not only that, but we continue felling mature trees. You just can't stand behind those saplings.

Peeing Is Not a Crime: Don't waste money policing public urinators—invest in public restrooms instead. , by Daniel Denvir (City Lab)

New York City officials are considering downgrading public urination to a mere violation instead of a misdemeanor offense, in an effort to roll back excessive broken-windows policing. Reducing criminal penalties, however, fails to address the root of the peeing in public problem.

That would be the lack of public places to pee.

Citing people for public urination criminalizes someone for doing something that society, the state and the market effectively encourages by making public restrooms scarce. That's a hallmark of broken windows policing: punish low-level crimes that are born of necessity or, sometimes, just understandable convenience—including people hustling to sell loosies, drinking on stoops instead of at a pricy cafe's outdoor seating and, yes, those who pee where they must because there is a woeful dearth of places to urinate lawfully.

People who pee outside often would prefer to pee inside. Anecdotally speaking. The number of public restrooms, however, is insufficient in many places.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Photos of the Running of the Bulls, 2015.

The Fiesta de San Fermin came to a close on July 14. I've written about it many times, most recently here:

ON THE AVENUES REWOUND: Red scarf, white shirt and San Miguel beer (2012).

 ... As Hemingway undoubtedly would agree, the greatest two minutes in sports do not take place at Churchill Downs each May. Each morning during San Fermin, muscular beasts and eager humans take to the streets of Pamplona to memorialize the death of the festival's namesake patron saint. The ritual is known as the "Running of the Bulls," as the six bulls scheduled to appear in the coming evening's bullfight (along with six heifers) are released into narrow, barricaded streets and driven 900 meters -- a little more than half a mile -- to the bull ring.

My cousin Don, who attends each year, e-mailed me with the following link. The breathtaking photos there vividly capture the spirit of the running. It's a crazy spectacle, and hard to describe. I've no desire to run, but wouldn't mind going back some day to watch from a balcony with a soothing adult libation in hand.

Running of the Bulls 2015: The Fiesta de San Fermin, by Alan Taylor (The Atlantic)

The annual Fiesta de San Fermin began in Spain this week. The festival, including the famous “Running of the Bulls,” attracts thousands of visitors to Pamplona every year. Lasting nine days, the festival kicks off with massive crowds at the Chupinazo in Pamplona town square, followed by a carnival, fireworks, the running of the bulls, and many bullfights. Held since 1591, San Fermin remains a popular, though dangerous and controversial, event—two Americans and a Briton were gored on Tuesday.

Water Parking: Wait no more, for the Great Oz has spoken.

Fundamentally cleaner.

Mayor Jeff Gahan has faxed a statement from the surreal depths of his down-low bunker.

Holy Family has been a great neighbor to our facility, and we appreciate the church leaders working with us as we move forward to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.

He refers to this:

ON THE AVENUES: A citizen's eloquent complaint about the parking debacle at River Run reminds us that planners and brooms go hand in hand.

 ... The city and mayor has brought a great hardship on my parish community of Holy Family. We have had to barricade our parking lot off to the general public so we can have parking for our parishioners, especially our senior citizens. Unfortunately the busiest times of the new water park coincide with the busiest times of our parish community.

Jeff Gahan's team of campaign finance monetizers couldn't have come up with a more auto-centric water park, but they've somehow managed to make it even worse -- and where have you heard this before? -- through a complete and comprehensive failure to communicate with the neighborhood around River Run.

Now it's on television.

 ... The temporary solution to the problem comes in the form of a five minute walk down the road to a makeshift lot with about 50 parking spaces.

“I don't want the neighbors to be inconvenienced, but at the same time I don't want to drive anybody away from our park,” said Mayor Gahan.

Or. as a friend states it:

The city's asking patrons of the new pool to park on the corner of Green Valley Rd & W Daisy Ln - the lot where McCartin tore down the arts and crafts house. The grass roped off with perky little signs reading "Pool Parking."

So folks are supposed to park on someone's private property, walk alongside a busy street with no sidewalks, trespassing as they come and go - what a planned project!

Gahan insists he has read Jeff Speck's book, and secretly advocates principles of walkability so long as no one sees or hears him do so, but still, this isn't at all what Speck had in mind.

Of course, amid the parking fiasco, previous truths remain just as glaringly evident: The water park cost $9 million payable by your grandchildren; it's in the wrong place; it can be used only a few months out of the year; we might have had neighborhood splash pads and a regulation pool for swimming (imagine that) for equal or probably less expense; there's been no accounting for future upkeep; it does nothing to keep our young people from fleeing town ... and on, and on.

See also: ON THE AVENUES: "Water on the brains: Much less for far more will keep us swimming in it."

Well, well: "Matthew Nash for 5th District City Council."

When Matt swapped photos here yesterday, I suspected the Green Mouse was right.

Can we speak candidly?

It's widely known that Gahan administration operatives targeted incumbent 5th district rep Diane Benedetti for defeat in the primary. I know this because one of them told me so. Of course, it cannot be quantified as to how much the down-low Gahan chicanery contributed to Dustin Collins' eventual victory, but now it's moot, as Collins was forced to withdraw from the race owing to health concerns.

If I haven't said it already in blog space, all the best to Dustin. He's a personable and bright young man, and there is no doubt about his sincere commitment to public service. Get well, quickly.

But there's an election to be held, and the News and Tribune's Daniel Suddeath explains what happens next as Democratic Party chairman Adam Dickey follows arcane procedures lifted straight from the pages of "Foucault's Pendulum" (alas, not a Disney flick) to ensure his chosen and pre-ordained outcome. Remember the famous song Bob Dylan wrote about Dickey, "Tangled Up in Puppet Strings"?

Qualified Democrats residing in District 5 can submit for nomination by caucus members. The caucus will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 7 at the New Albany Roadhouse, which is located at 1706 Graybrook Lane.

That's right: The Democrats will caucus by drawing straws and drinking ice cold Bud Light long necks. Fiction simply cannot improve on reality when it comes to satirizing these people.

Know this: None of my obvious and ever expanding derision for our local Fix Is In Democrats should be implied as outweighing my personal esteem for Matt Nash, whose hat has been tossed into the ring in the 5th. I won't get a vote in this one, and we'll see what happens. Even if we still disagree on certain topics, Benedetti has done a good job. Matt's a great fellow, and politics is a nasty business. Anyone got a tea leaf?

A word of advice to Matt: If you don't win the race, be careful the newspaper doesn't screw you on your weekly column resumption * ... and seriously, you might wish to distance yourself from the recently abominable record of your old man on the Bored of Works.

By the way, anyone got a broom?

Here's Matt's Fb campaign page. I wish him well.

Matthew Nash for 5th District City Council

I would like to announce my intention to seek the position of New Albany City Council in the 5th District. For the past six years I have expressed my opinion on how to make our city a better place in a weekly column in the News and Tribune. Now I am actually doing something about it.

I believe that New Albany is a great city but we could be doing better. Between now and November 3rd I will discuss with all of the citizens of New Albany how we can work together to make our city the best that it can be.

* Matt's already dealt with it here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

You are invited to listen as Dr. John Gilderbloom preaches his "gospel of things urban" on Tuesday, August 4, at the library.


NAC has referenced Dr. John Gilderbloom numerous times in recent years. Thanks to Councilman John Gonder, Dr. Gilderbloom is coming to New Albany on Tuesday, August 4, to give a presentation about the "gospel of things urban" at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library (Strassweg Auditorium; 6:00 p.m.)

The simplest way for me to say it is this: In large measure, what Dr. Gilderbloom has to say about urban areas is what I wish to facilitate in New Albany as mayor. His presentation on August 4 might as well be a campaign rally. I've personally invited Kevin Zurschmiede to attend.

What? Do you really think Jeff Gahan would come and listen to detailed explanations of what he won't do?

Following are ten links from NAC since 2013 in which Dr. Gilderbloom's name is dropped.

Gilderbloom on New Albany street mess: One-way streets are bad for neighborhoods and businesses.

Irv still nutzoid, and Gilderbloom's research wasted on New Albany -- and Greg Fischer, for that matter.

U of L professor John Gilderbloom gains national notice for one-way street research, by David Serchuk (Insider Louisville)

Calm down, Irv: "Why one-way streets are bad for everyone but speeding cars.

More than one way to think about urban streets, by John Gilderbloom and William Riggs (Special to The Courier-Journal)

Two-Way Streets Can Fix Declining Downtown Neighborhoods, by John Gilderbloom (Planetizen)

John Gilderbloom's and Matt Hanka's original research

U of L Prof. Gilderbloom on Mayor Fischer's minions: "They will never use this research; they will instead belittle our efforts."

As local Democratic Party mounts bowl-a-thon, Dr. Gilderbloom marshalls impressive evidence: "Turn one-way streets to two-way."

CART annual meeting: Dr. John Gilderbloom on ‘Louisville at the Crossroads,’ left behind as other cities embrace New Urbanism (Insider Louisville)

And, here is John Gonder's original post.

---

Cruising With Hans, by John Gonder at his blog

A chance encounter at a grocery store a couple weeks ago allowed me to run into John Gilderbloom. Dr. Gilderbloom is a professor at U of L, and is a noted and quoted authority on urban revitalization with a heavy reliance on the effect two-way streets have in bringing about such revival.

He and I had met several years ago for a discussion of our building in Louisville.

Dr. Gilderbloom mentioned that he is off to Europe soon to preach his gospel of things urban. He said it would be a help to him if he could have a shakedown cruise of his material before he crosses the ocean. I asked if he'd like to run through his presentation in New Albany since we are always looking for good ideas on how to improve our city.

He accepted the invitation, and will speak at the STRASSWEG AUDITORIUM in the basement of the New Albany Library, TUESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2015 at 6:00 PM.

Dr. Gilderbloom is a bit of a shy, reticent, fellow; a typical academic type. But his grasp of his subject material is wide and strong. An informative and engaging presentation awaits those who attend. So, please come help Dr. Gilderbloom get ready for his European visit.

ON THE AVENUES: A citizen's eloquent complaint about the parking debacle at River Run reminds us that planners and brooms go hand in hand.

ON THE AVENUES:  A citizen's eloquent complaint about the parking debacle at River Run reminds us that planners and brooms go hand in hand. 

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Before we reprise a column from January 23, 2014, let's take a look at an unedited Facebook post from New Albany resident Joe Kraft, with whom I am not personally acquainted. It is as self-explanatory as I can imagine such a passage to be.

---

I can't help but to vent my frustration with our mayor and the city of New Albany.

I am an active member of Holy Family Catholic Church and own two small businesses in New Albany. I cannot believe the city built the River Run Water Park without enough parking for the patrons. The capacity of the new water park is 1,378 according to city records, yet there are only 155 parking places! Why so few? They have ample ground on either side of the new fire house.

The city and mayor has brought a great hardship on my parish community of Holy Family. We have had to barricade our parking lot off to the general public so we can have parking for our parishioners, especially our senior citizens. Unfortunately the busiest times of the new water park coincide with the busiest times of our parish community.

We have two masses on Saturday and 2 Sunday morning masses and 1 Sunday evening mass. We DO NOT want to be perceived in our city community as unwelcoming to those people who cannot find parking at the water park. We have agreed to park all the city employees of the water park. Usually about 20 cars a day.

We just do not have room to park the general public. Holy Family wants to be good neighbors but the city is making it impossible!

I also own two rental homes on Coyle Drive across the street from the water park. My tenants have been frustrated by the cars parked on either side of the road causing a very dangerous driving situation.

The city requires all businesses, outside of downtown district to meet STRINGENT parking guidelines before opening a business. A business is required to provide ample parking for their employees and patrons. How does the mayor and the city get away with ignoring these guidelines? It is so very unjust and unfair to our community, businesses and Holy Family. I am disgusted and dismayed!

Mayor Gahan and the city of New Albany needs to be held accountable!

---

Mr. Kraft, you're quite right. Unfortunately, the current regime is convinced it possesses an unerring touch, and that it need not heed its own guidelines. Your example is the literal tip of the iceberg. In his capacity as mayor, Jeff Gahan exists in a strange, detached, Disneyesque bubble of sheer down-low fantasy. There's only one effective cure on the horizon, and it's better than wooden stakes and garlic: An election, coming very soon, in which I'm challenging Gahan as an independent candidate, and Kevin Zurschmiede as well for the Republicans. Kevin and I do differ as candidates, but we agree on one central point: This cannot go on, and they must go. 

Good luck. Following is the reprinted column, as reiterating the point from another angle. True, eventually the professional truckers found common cause in opposing progress. In addition, the Speck study followed in due course, filled with reasons for City Hall to take the lead on street grid reform -- and it might just as well have been printed on toilet paper. Some other aspects of the following have been altered during the past eighteen months. However, by and large, I stand by it.

---

Let me tell you, it was a bizarre dream.

There I was, wearing only slippers and a jock strap, in a room filled to overflowing with planning professionals. Suddenly Tyler Allen sidled over.

He asked, “Who are these people, anyway?”

“They’re professional planners,” I said.

“Wow,” he nodded. “And they don’t know these things?”

“If they do, they’re not letting on.”

“That’s what I thought. If I had dreams like this, I’d consider foregoing sleep. You ever considered moving?”

---

But was it really a dream?

The room began shaking, and I leaped from my bed and ran to the window, all the better to view two 18-wheelers, side by side, thundering in the same direction down Spring Street as an officer on speed trap duty shone his radar gun on a box of multinational doughnuts.

Like MLK, I have a dream. Unlike him, this isn’t it. Then again, I’m not a professional planner in New Albany.

---

Well, was it a dream, or was it Memorex? At times it’s hard to tell.

In the aftermath of Jeff Speck’s library chat last week, I asked New Albany’s economic development director to explain the nature of local resistance to two-way street calming.

The reason for my curiosity? Apart from tangled, strangled, plaintive social media wails here and there, discernible organized opposition to street grid reform has not been visible. No less a personage than the economic development director’s boss once told me that in his view, there exists no community sentiment either way. Such a statement implies no pro, no con … just inert. But I’m pro. Where’s the con – that whole action and reaction dichotomy? The economic development director was quick to answer.

“Oh, it’s there. We hear it all the time.”

“But from whom?”

“We get phone calls and e-mails.”

“Look, I’m out on the street every day. I’m the face of the two-way lobby, so why aren’t they saying it to me?

“Why would they do that? Of course they won’t say it to YOUR face. They’re afraid they might have to talk to you.”

“Isn’t that what we want, a discussion?”

“C’mon, Roger; be serious. You DO have a reputation, you know.

“For what, being right?”

(pause)

“You know exactly what I mean. You and your buddies, always talking down to people with facts and evidence. These people don’t have a fighting chance if they go and reveal their identities.”

“If they’re afraid of revealing their identities, then why on earth should their opinion matter? Anyway, they can always go vote, right?”

(long silence)

“Oh, I see.”

---

As I was writing today’s column, Twitter informed me of the best straight line, ever.

“Tonight's New Albany Plan Commission meeting has been cancelled.”

If a tree falls in the woods and there’s no planning commission member on hand to hear it, can we have two-way streets yet?

---

However, what started the conversation was purely semantic. On the topic of Speck’s message, I thought it was self-evident, but I was asked to be more legalistic in my dialectic.

“Roger, why do you keep saying we’re not for this, when we’re not actually against it?”

“But not being against something isn’t the same as being for it.”

“That’s my point. Right now, we can only not be against it, at least until a study lets us know whether we’re for it. Look, we can’t know we’re for it unless someone tells us to be for it.”

“Wait a minute. You’ve been for several other things lately without someone telling you to be for them. Parks, aquatic centers, Main Street improvements, farmers market upgrades … ”

“Duh! Those are for feel-good parks and hallowed rows of mansions, and everyone’s for them, including us! It’s easy to be for it when no fundamental changes are necessary. It’s when you have to change something, then obviously you can’t be for it unless an expert tells you to be for it.”

“What about the Democratic grandees? Do you need their permission, too?”

“Hell no – wait, let me get this call.”

(Yeah … uh huh … thanks Mrs. Sipes, will do)

“Now, what was I saying? Right: Of course we need their permission. What do you think this is, a red city?”

“So, assuming you need an expert to tell you to be for it even though something has to be changed to do it, are you going to hire the expert who spoke today? Jeff Speck just told you what to do. Isn’t that cover enough?”

“Seriously, Roger, will you just try to understand the way life works? To preserve the disposable appearance of objectivity, as soon as we decide what we’re against – I mean for – then we’ll hire the same experts we’ve always hired previously. That Jorge Lanz; what a great guy, and he speaks bureaucratese without an accent. Incredible.”

“But aren’t guys like him the same ones who told you to do it the wrong way in the first place? Didn’t you hear what Speck was saying today?”

“Well, yes. I guess you could say that. Politically, we’re not against doing it the right way; it’s just that we’re not for it, either.”

---

“You’re the city’s economic development director, and what we’re trying to explain to you is that for the sake of independent small businesses downtown, two-way streets ARE economic development. Can’t you do just this one thing for us as a group?”

“We already do things for you. I’d offer you a matching façade grant right now, only the UEA’s skint since we cashed it in. Don’t you know anyone from Jeffersonville?”

“Compared to what the industrial park gets … "

“What the industrial park gets is totally justified. The industrial park is about job creation.”

“Really? My 20 employees at Bank Street Brewhouse will be happy to hear that they don’t have real jobs.”

“Roger, you just want what’s right for you.”

“Are you saying TGI Missouri does not?”

“That’s different. Just quit saying we’re not doing anything. Of course we are. We’re tap dancing as fast as we can. We’re just now learning all these newfangled ideas. We have a double secret plan, and we’re not like you, with all that time to read and ask questions. We hired away someone from One Southern Indiana, for chrissakes. Just remember: We’re not against it. But being for it … well, there’s a limit to what we can do.”

---

Tyler Allen, if you’re reading … did you have a destination in mind? Too much more of this dreaming, and I may be ready for a nap.

---

Recent columns:

July 16: ON THE AVENUES: Louisville Beer, then and now ... and cheers to Rotary.

July 9: ON THE AVENUES: A mayoral petition as prologue to history.

July 2: ON THE AVENUES: "Water on the brains: Much less for far more will keep us swimming in it."

June 25: ON THE AVENUES REWOUND: Red scarf, white shirt and San Miguel beer (2012).

June 18: ON THE AVENUES: These 10 definitions will help you speak local politics like a native.

June 11: ON THE AVENUES: This is Dan Coffey, New Albany’s quintessential Democrat.

Matt Chalfant and Ian Hall: New apartments, Brooklyn and The Butcher restaurant to open in November.

We marvel at Chalfant's ability to do quality works sans TIF bonding. Still, this corner would have been a ideal spot for a plaque-ready New Directions structure like the ones at 922 Culbertson.

Excuse the snark, follow the link and read all about the apartments and Ian Hall's forthcoming food and drink project.

New Albany developer: New apartments, Brooklyn and The Butcher set to open concurrently, by Caitlin Bowling (Louisville Business First)

It looks like Brooklyn and The Butcher, a new steakhouse concept from restaurant owner Ian Hall, and the 12-apartment complex above the restaurant will open in November.

The apartments and restaurant are located at 148 E. Market St. in New Albany. Developer Matt Chalfant bought the property in fall 2013 for $332,500 with plans to renovate the more than 140-year-old building.


The top floors of the three-story building are being turned into 12 apartments, a mixture of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, Chalfant told Louisville Business First. Rent hasn't been set but likely will be about $750 to $1,200 a month, depending on the size of the apartment.
The apartments include original features from the building, such as brick walls, hardwood floors and tin ceilings, but also newer amenities, including granite countertops and cast-iron bathtubs and showers.

“The best of the old touches with the best of the new touches," Chalfant said.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Top blog comment of the month: A COA for the NSP infill? It'd be MIA.

You know, before he changed the seal and all. 

Our post this morning ...

Life is like a street piano. What the Bored of Works gets out of it depends on how they "nay" it.

 drew an insightful comment:

Did the city ask the Preservation Commission for a "Certificate of Appropriateness" before they demolished the tavern at 922 Culbertson?





Life is like a street piano. What the Bored of Works gets out of it depends on how they "nay" it.


Previously at NAC:






The same people guarding the public participation gates on behalf of those other people who blithely toss millions of dollars at lifeguards and Indy property developers are flustered by a street piano -- again.

What is this, anyway? "Mayor Jeff Gahan Presents Groundhog Day?"

New Albany continues to review street piano request, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)

Months after initially bringing the request to the Board of Public Works and Safety, local resident Hannegan Roseberry was told Tuesday that she will likely need a Certificate of Appropriateness, or COA, from the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission to proceed with installing the street piano.

Roseberry is seeking approval to have the piano placed under the awning of Jimmy’s Music Center from Labor Day through the Harvest Homecoming celebration in early October as part of a public arts project ...

 ... However, Warren Nash, president of the board of works, said a COA will be needed because the installation would be located in an historic preservation commission.

There are several tables, signs and other items placed on sidewalks throughout downtown, Roseberry said. She questioned whether those businesses were also required to obtain a COA.

Nash said he was “not sure” if all had.

“It’s not easy to enforce that or police it either,” Nash said.

Nash & Co. have had more than a month to think about it -- and the very best they can do is fabricate hooey about a Certificate of Appropriateness from the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission.

Because ...

Roseberry said later Tuesday that after speaking with a representative of the preservation commission, she was informed the body had never required a COA for an art installation.

Is there anyone on Planet Earth surprised by the preservation commission's befuddlement?

Is there anyone surprised by the Bored of Works all-purpose bewilderment?

Does the piano itself have poisonous tentacles?

Are the boarders themselves tone deaf?

Must public art in New Albany ALWAYS begin AND end with dogs playing poker?

Does the down-low Gahan team even begin to grasp how petty and vindictive it is beginning (?) to look?

Dunman on personal beliefs, public office, marriage licenses and why Dan Coffey should (but will not) read this.

It couldn't get any clearer.

Could it?

Opinion: County clerks cannot use the power of public office to impose personal beliefs on others, by Joe Dunman (Insider Louisville)

 ... But more troublesome than the logistical problems these bills create is the idea that state or county officials can even have religious objections at all. It’s important to understand that public officials like county clerks are government actors. While they’re at work, they’re not acting as private individuals. They’re acting as the government. When they stand behind that counter and issue licenses, or enforce the law in any way, they effectively cease to be individuals and instead become the government.

“The government” is people. It requires public officials to act in order for it to function. And those public officials swear an oath to uphold the constitutions of Kentucky and the United States (the latter trumps the former). In exchange for the power, prestige and compensation of public office, they agree to enforce the law and perform their duties regardless of their personal religious views. It’s critical that they do so, because neither Kentucky nor the United States is a theocracy.