Monday, May 23, 2011

Public Works Committee met today on UMC street revocation

It was an interesting presentation.  Here's the video - Item III - speakers toward the end of that period.  Be sure to catch Council Member Stacy Head's excellent commentary on the irony that the same people in Baton Rouge who pushed the anti-Kelo amendment also supported the Lower Mid-City plan that involved mass expropriation.  See her dead-on questioning regarding the UMC's failure to design vertically in an urban environment.

Viewers learned a number of items at the meeting.  As far as site preparation expenditures thus far, the numbers, roughly, total:

$11.2 million for professional services (including $3.7 million for legal alone - with 120 properties still in dispute)
$42 million for acquisition of properties
$1.2 million for relocation packages for people
Total:   $55.3 million

Just think of how absurd that last figure is.  The state has a gigantic, structurally sound building on hand...that it owns.  Charity Hospital.  It's a building that could meet the programmatic needs of a new, state of the art hospital if retrofitted.

Instead, the state spent $55.3 million on destroying a neighborhood.  And those costs will continue to mount as the legal challenges proceed.

Other items:

125 parcels cleared
107 in demolition process

26 houses were identified as "Builders of Hope" houses for potential moving, but apparently things are not moving forward on a house moving effort at this time.

The state says that all parcel acquisition should be complete by May 31.  By July 1, the site would be "demolished."

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