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Evansville City Community needs ‘total overhaul’

September 15, 2015

My post that got published online:

Community comment: Community needs ‘total overhaul’

Election season is upon us. With that we will be bombarded with various talks, attacks and maybe new vision thrown in between our current Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and Democratic nominee for Mayor Gail Riecken and various City Council members and candidates.

I do agree with letter writer Ed Lacy’s opinion on throwing out the ‘do nothing’ City Council, but I wouldn’t stop there. What we need is a total overhaul of the Mayor’s Office, City Council and Area Plan Commission. Those three entities are responsible for the bad planning and funding of our city. We keep comparing Evansville to Owensboro, Peoria, Illinois, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, to learn from them — but we are past that.

We can’t improve our city while we have such entities stuck in the past nor have the foresight and long-term vision. We can’t compare ourselves to various cities anymore. You don’t see those cities giving up prime riverfront locations to allow tall corporate buildings such as Old National and Vectren to be erected on the riverfront that don’t serve downtown interests.

If, on the other hand, those large corporate buildings with prime locations did some improvement downtown by incorporating large greenery and nice parks into their location, then more power to them for having such real estate. But the opposite is true and to top it off, ONB just reduced its tax bill to the city while they took naming rights for the convention center.

Courier & Press Editor Tim Ethridge was spot on in a May 17 column when he discussed our needs for leadership that isn’t afraid of change. We need and require a long-term vision from new elected officials. We can’t rebuild downtown over night and the direction we are heading doesn’t show improvement. The fact remains that what we set in motion we have to live with for the next 20-plus years. Vectren and Old National should have not been allowed to build this close to the river. That property should have gone to the Ford Center and the new hotel, and the convention center should have been on the river a long time ago.

My suggestion for improving the future of Evansville (15-plus years):

1) The fight is done with short-term vision for hotel and medical center. Move on.

2) The wastewater facility and Mulzer Crushed Stone need to be relocated and use that space for greenery and entertainment.

3) Create bike path that stretches between Evansville, Mt. Vernon and Newburgh .(Akron, Ohio, did bike path connecting it to various cities).

4) LST 325 relocation to where the casino is located. 5) Create a state of the art marina where not only boaters can use it, but restaurants to take advantage of the river view.

6) Introduce legislation for tax sale properties where new owners take quick ownership and not wait a year before they improve properties.

7) Move the Otters baseball field and Swonder Ice Arena to be on the river as part of various downtown entertainments.

9) Close unprofitable pools in the city and build new one with slides downtown close to the river.

It is time for new, forward-thinking leaders Evansville.

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