COLUMBIA, 1/7/11 (Beat Byte) -- "Anonymous tip," the email read. "You might want to dig around a little bit on the Maguire Blvd. extension delays. Rumor has it...."
A $6.9 million project to connect LeMone Industrial Boulevard with Stadium Boulevard, the Maguire extension project has been nothing if not controversial.
Supposedly sealed with a handshake between developer Bob Lemone (left) and Columbia City Manager Ray Beck years ago, the project involves building two bridges over Grindstone Creek that became flash points for environmental, budget, and congestion concerns. City government's motives for pushing the project seemed shadowy at best, shady at worst.
A more complete picture has since emerged, as the extension will serve an industrial park once owned by the Lemone family where IBM, Linen King, and other businesses have migrated -- with help from city tax, lending, and leasing incentives.
Construction on the Maguire extension has indeed been delayed, City Hall claiming weather, but that rumor -- which came from an operations manager who works near the project -- claiming something else entirely.
"The delay is less about the washout, and significantly more about a pissing contest between the contractor and the City of Columbia over who is going to pay for the repairs -- and that in the interim, little to no work has been performed since August 20th."