Wednesday, April 6, 2011

BAD INFRASTRUCTURE: Top First Ward issue, voter says

COLUMBIA, 4/6/11  (Beat Byte) --  Election season is the time to hear from candidates, but one First Ward voter wants newly-elected Council members Fred Schmidt, Helen Anthony -- and City Hall -- to hear from him about an issue that's raging in older parts of town. 
"The need for repairs to potholes, aging residential sewers on the verge of collapse, and action on much talked-about plans to redo West Broadway and its sidewalk" are top First Ward priorities, says First Ward resident and former Columbia Historic Preservation commissioner Michael Clark
"We've seen talk from different corners about this, but little in the way of action from City Hall," Clark told the Columbia Heart Beat, emphasizing that he is both a "concerned voter" and "First Ward property owner."   
"These issues are on the minds of a lot of taxpayers, property owners and residents here.  During the campaign, "we heard some mention from candidate Pam Forbes about this, but not too much from the other candidates," Clark explained, adding that city government has been operating from a playbook of misplaced priorities.   "With budgets seemingly tight at City Hall, it would make sense to average citizens that we would put another Parking Garage plan on hold, at least for now," he said.   
Much of downtown is also in the First Ward, Clark noted -- and suffers the same infrastructure problems. 
"The 'we don't have any money' response from Public Works on the need for a new drainage system in Alley A downtown doesn't seem to jive with City Hall approving yet another Parking Garage downtown," Clark explained. 
For the newly-elected, he also asks:  "What will be the strategy they implement to work with City staff and Public Works to convince them that maybe we could pull money out of reserves to pay for some of these infrastructure needs?"
"These problems and issues are not being dealt with, and will only become worse and more costly to taxpayers to repair over time," Clark concluded. 

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