Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So much for that

In the provision above, you see that the Programmatic Agreement (PA) that governs the LSU/VA site preparation process required the State of Louisiana (Facilities Planning and Control) to notify the head of the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (a federal entity) that a funding stream for design and construction had been identified and a business plan has been approved for the proposed UMC hospital before demolitions could proceed.

Well, the notice was sent and received, rather perfunctorily...months and months ago.  And yet today we know that there is no business plan in place (as proof, Chairman Yarborough of the UMC Board must get one to the legislature by September of this year, I believe) and over $400 million in necessary financing for the construction of the UMC is not in hand.

This particular PA provision, designed to avoid the needless destruction of an entire neighborhood in a national historic district should the state fail to get all of its ducks in a row, utterly failed in its purpose.  If any house moving does occur in the UMC site, it will be due to efforts entirely outside the PA.

While Charity Hospital sits empty with no concrete plans (the city, at one point a month ago, told BioDistrict New Orleans to back off in its efforts to acquire the complex), the neighborhood in the LSU Footprint has been largely demolished at this point, and the funding and business plan issues still have not been resolved.  That's the sort of thing that leads one to mistrust the state - and just about any federal government agency that's had its hands in the hospitals project.

It may have looked fine on paper.  But we've seen how things have played out.

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