My post that got published online:
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.
This is in response to article written by Zach Evans from Evansville Courier & Press, Sunday June 14, 2015 titled :”‘Canvas’ discusses juvenile weapon arrests”
Mr. Cook frustrations need to be directed towards the root of the problem by first accepting responsibility that youth problems start with family and not government!
It‘s sad when you see a prominent person like Mr. Cook who can have influence in shaping inner city neighborhoods make such remarks “There’s nothing for our kids to do..”. Reading his statement I come up with two conclusions:
- Cook is far removed from inner city neighborhoods and he doesn’t leave his home to see what is out there.
- OR Mr. Cook is playing Us vs Them card and looking to put the blames of what is going on in his neighborhood on someone else.
Either case I see Mr. Cook as unqualified to lead this coalition. Let us review some facts here Mr. Cook, in regards to what youths in inner city neighborhoods have access to:
- City has Lorraine Pool, Rochelle Pool, Garvin Pool and Anthony Oates Pool all of which in Inner city and provided to youth at minimal entrance fee for the pool while providing other activities on premises such as Basketball, baseball & tennis at some.
- YMCA Downtown provides access to families who can’t afford membership
- CK Newsome Center with its various activities and located near downtown
How about we review other facts Mr. Cook:
- Six Youths decided to take it upon themselves to vandalize properties such as Garvin Pool
- Youth decided Shooting at CK Newsome Center this year with people inside
Your community is not overlooked by city officials on the contrary city has provided neighborhoods with avenues to allow kids to be kids. It’s the community that is looking the other way and not standing against thugs in your neighborhood.
For youths to feel hope parents (yes it starts at home) needs to take responsibility for their children actions and guide them away from mischief. I also believe current laws are not harsh enough to deter youths from carrying and using guns, if you are man enough to carry a deadly weapon then State should prosecute the youth as an adult.
May I suggest to Mr. Cook the following, get youths in your neighborhood involved, for example in building a play ground park, I guarantee you companies such as Mead Johnson (who recently donated $100K to Evansville Park), Vectren, ONB and the likes would be happy to donate to get kids off the street and have them involved in such a project. When youths build it they will take ownership in maintaining it and not allowing others to destroy it.
Finally in regards to voting, I think you hit it bull’s eye, voting is your right and if certain individuals chose not to exercise this right you can’t “complain” why your voice isn’t heard. Vote for next City Elections and get out the vote in November to shape your city and neighborhood.