Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:54:20 -0500stephanie picture
    Subject: North Main Project

    Good morning,

    I am confused about this morning. I spoke to you Friday morning, and you were 99% sure that the DMD was applying for a TIGER grant. You seemed excited about the project.

    This morning, you reported that the grant application is scrapped, you only had a 2% chance of getting the funds and you met with neighborhood stakeholders to tell them. When did that happen?

    I spoke with Marianne from Donnelly’s office this morning. She said she would never have told you 2% or any percentage. She recounted her conversation with you last week as positive. Who did you talk to that told you that we had no chance?

    Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley

    3rd Ward City Council


    1. This reader cannot imagine any circumstance that could justify the “scrapping”
      of the application for the TIGER GRANT. Strange things happen when government
      deals out these funds. Why not stay in the mix and see what happens?
      Perhaps someone failed to meet criteria along the way? …

      • Bubba is right. Strange things happen. These grants are usually competitive. The competitive part came in when someone decided they wanted the funding created for their project. The competition is over when the funds are designated available. Submitting grant applications for the funds is merely a formality. The DMD director probably has the inside track – funds are spoken for – don’t bother to apply.

    2. Obviously this appears to be a ploy to bait the Council, i.e. while Winnecke moves fast and furious spending money on soft costs and of course the Council dare not challenge the project because of the loss of those grants. . . .

      Question: How does bike lanes and a new street costing 15 million help the homeowners within the Jacobville TIF District. . . Morgan Avenue at 1st Avenue to Division Street east to N. Main north to Morgan Avenue west on Morgan Avenue back to 1st Avenue. . .many homes that pay property taxes that will finance this project will NOT be helped. . . just another Winnecke project and the donations that come with it. . . .

      • Dances, this will give the Jacobville homeowners great pride and comfort in their community. They will not have far to walk out of their blighted, potholed surroundings to see a beautiful street and sidewalk. If they make it along their crumbled sidewalks to Main street they can Bike to the Beautiful downtown or Haney’s corner and see the great things that millions of their tax resources have accomplished.

        • What is the percentage of owners living in the Jacobsville neighborhoods? If the number of owners living in the neighborhood is high this may spark some refurbishing. If it is still dominated by low income renters the positive potential will not be realized. As long as the homes are blighted and potholed as you say, an island of beauty will make little difference. The island is not likely to retain its beauty for long either.

          • Go a block in any direction half the structures look like third world squalor. Plenty of combined sewers and failing water mains surround area as well. Soil toxicities are abnormally high around that neighborhood and what they call Jim town to the east. Heavy metal elementals and PCB contamination from when the industrial base was basically a short stack atmospheric discharge 24/7.
            What’s on the soil also washes straight shot into the river and creek when the sewers belch combined sewers discharge events. That’s a compounded issue that continues to plague those old downtown neighborhoods as well.

          • Why is the percentage of renters vs homeowners important. Are the renters not important? They happen to pay twice the property taxes as the homeowner. Do you think Evansville needs to get rid of “low income renters” and move those people to “affordable housing” where they have nice homes subsidized by taxpayers?

            • There is no substitute for residents having equity in a neighborhood to start a revitalization effort. As v wrote the neighborhoods a block away from North Main are a Midwestern version of a third world slum. You may delude yourself into thinking that ownership does not matter but it will not change the reality of the neighborhoods. Retail and bike lanes are not a solution to abject poverty and transient residents. It never has been and it never will be.

            • Truer words have never been spoken, Mr. Wallace. My small-town self was not mentally or emotionally prepared to see the condition of the housing and residents of those neighborhoods. Detroit, maybe, but not Evansville.

              Folks who don’t understand this need to take a long walk in the area and take off their blinders.

      • @Danceswithwolves,

        Don’t be foolish . . . the bike lanes will allow the Jacobsville residents to safely ride to the unemployment office.

    3. Councilwoman Riley asked a legitimate question, Local P or Winnecke should answer it.

    4. Is she for the project or is she against it? Or is she using this as just another opportunity to attack and criticize. Has she used her position on the MPO advisory board to promote the project or torpedo it with negative blogging? Hard to tell. Because she is not saying much here. How much contact has she had with the grant writers on this issue before blogging questions that could be asked directly to the department head rather than attempting to embarrass him in a political blog site? She can answer these questions here since she is both a public presence on this site as well as one of its major backdoor info sources, so I’m sure she is reading this.

      • She must be too busy trying to fulfill her pledge to shelter the METS bus stops to answer simple questions Herr.

    5. Time Out on the Floor:

      If North Main = Jacobsville = TIGER grant,

      it has been widely reported that the Jacobsville TIF fund already had the ($ 13 Million) money to
      do this project. Where is the TIGER grant coming in–is that in addition to the supposed money in the sock ?

      • TIF fund does not have the money. It has the ability to borrow against future tax revenues of the TIF district. Another words this is the money that will be available for future projects but the mayor has encouraged the mortgage everything and spend it now theory. There may not be a tomorrow.

        • Bootsie, lying ? Could be, but i would guess you heard only one side of the story before making that statement.

    6. I didn’t send this email to the City County Observer. However, I am happy to discuss it.

      TIGER Grants should be pursued although only about 5% of the funds are given for pedestrian and bicycle paths. It’s still a good process to participate in. Donnelly’s office would have given a letter of support. The award process would not have occurred until this fall though, and politics require a groundbreaking sooner, as it’s an election year.

      TIGER Grants if awarded would have paid 1/3 to 80% of the cost of this project. Yes, the TIF has the bonding capacity to pay 100% of a road improvement, but it is silly to pay 100%. This is a complete street project, not unlike Oak Hill Road. We paid no more than 20% of that project, like every other road project, and went through the MPO.

      The MPO would be a second choice for this project and falls within their work. However, the MPO is now scheduling in 2019. We should be going through the MPO if TIGER Grants are denied, as again we would pay a fraction of the cost.

      With deciding that we should pay 100% of a road project, it would require a 13 million bond. The bond payments would consume 80% or more of the TIF’s income. This would leave no income for additional bonding related to job creation if another Haier America came along. The other problem with eating up all of the TIF’s revenue is that it dramatically narrows the possibilities for additional projects.

      I would like to see the Jacobsville TIF take on its own maintenance- streets, sidewalks, blight removal. The best bang for our buck would be to pursue grants, even if it delayed the project and work on more areas of Jacobsville besides this 20 blocks.

      • Ms. Riley, Who did send see that the CCO received it ? Is someone hacking your e-mails ?

        • It was copied to other members. It’s public commentary under a FOIA request.

        • Let’s see now. A council member sends an email filled with innuendo and gossip to a department head who gets dozens of emails a day, besides all the other responsibilities of running a major department. He doesn’t reply quickly enough to suit the council member.

          Conveniently, the council member has copied the email to other council members, and then drops a hint to a political blog to request “public information” in spite of the fact that no real information exists. Just innuendo and gossip presented under a veil of questions.

          CYA accomplished. Embarrassment accomplished. Matters not that the department head was at the UNOE meeting the night before the email was published in the political blog, and the council member could’ve asked the questions of the department head in person, in a civil manner, at a neighborhood association meeting where Jacobsville issues are frequently a major topic.

          Okay, so the TIGER grant will not be pursued in 2015. I hear it will be pursued in 2016. Are you totally out of the loop? Are you no longer on the MPO advisory board? Is KC the only person who can answer your questions?

          So, anyway, maybe if you and John are able to curtail your scuttlebutting and back door bush league politicking sufficiently to not derail Gail, you might get to show us your grant grabbing abilities on behalf of her administration. But I doubt that’ll happen.

          By the way, are there no grants available for sheltering the METS bus stops? How’s that pledge of yours coming. Bus stops before BS. But then rumor mongering is just another bad habit hard to break free off, huh?

          • He did reply and confirmed no grant.

            No hint for a FOIA – the point was that we write these emails with the understanding they could be requested.

            The grant request for 2016 is a different project.

            I continue to sit on the MPO and again, we are out in 2019 with projects. This could and should be an MPO project but it would have to get into a line of equally valuable projects.

            The email went to Coures because he told me 3 days prior that a TIGER Grant was being pursued.

            Budgeting bus shelters is an Administrative function. They have been encouraged to do so.

      • Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley
        Thanks for the information. We really will miss you on City Council.
        Someone else will sit in your chair but you cannot be replaced.
        Many would like to have the chance to elect you Mayor.
        I am one of those. …

        • Bubba, I believe that will happen in due time when she is ready. I respect her desire to have an ordered life and care for her family and her law practice now and when she is ready I hope and believe she will be back. She is smarter by half that most politicians I have ever met.

    7. I get so tired and frustrated hearing about citizens seeking more crumbs from the Federal table and having to jump through endless hoops to get the funds. Why would it not be better just to keep our money at home and use it on the projects that WE deem important?

      We simply have to get out of this mind-set that all manna comes from Washington.

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