IS IT TRUE? Part 2 July 2, 2011 Realistic Timelines


Arena Vetting Process Chairman

IS IT TRUE? Part 2 July 2, 2011 Realistic Timelines

IS IT TRUE that John Kish the Arena project manager and reluctant but game on manager of the downtown Convention Hotel Project is on camera stating that the hotel project is an 18 month construction project?…that the site on which the hotel is to be built is about as “shovel ready” as the country was when President Obama embarked upon the now infamous “Stimulus Plan”?…that a 10 foot pile of concrete, rebar, and guano is not quite ready to start building an hotel on yet?…that there are no detail drawings of any proposal for any hotel for downtown Evansville?…that Mr. Kish says that the hotel projects is on schedule to open in late 2012?…that is physically impossible given the 18 month construction project duration?…that we must start at the beginning and that the first step will be to issue a new RFP on July 6, 2011.

IS IT TRUE that the bids will be opened and/or presented by a new group of suitors during the 3rd week of July?…that there will then be a selection process that hopefully includes a VETTING PROCESS and involves ELECTED MEMBERS OF THE EVANSVILLE CITY COUNCIL?…that under the best of circumstances that this will be completed by mid August 2011?…that then there will be a formal announcement and a presentation of approved renderings?…that then there will be about another month to get a new CONTRACT SIGNED?…that by then it will be the middle of September of 2011?…that then and only then will any good business (and we trust that the next winning bidder will have been vetted and will be capable of proceeding) start a formal detail design process?…that the design may be completed and approved with permits issued by the END OF 2011?…that by the end of 2011 the Arena will be complete and that Mr. John Kish will be happy to be the heck out of Evansville and recuperating back home in Indianapolis?…that Mr. Kish’s 18 month construction timeline will end in a best case scenario of a Grand Opening in the Summer of 2013?

IS IT TRUE that in the case of a fully funded and vetted developer and a highly cooperative building commissioner may be able to pull this off in 12 months instead of the 18 months that conventional wisdom would estimate?…that a commitment to run two shifts may really make Mr. Kish’s end of 2012 completion date possible?…that other locations have actually offered performance bonuses in the millions of dollars to developers for early completions of all sorts of projects?…that a 7 figure bonus may be both necessary and appropriate to provide the carrot incentive needed to get this downtown Convention Hotel opened in time for the new head of the CVB to start booking conventions into the place?…that being a player in the 2013 convention season is worth offering a 7 figure bonus to the developer?…that if Evansville does not find a way to make this happen that 2013 will be the 4th year that the City of Evansville sat on the banks and watched the rest of the country compete for conventions?…that this is a NO-BRAINER?

IS IT TRUE that in other timing issues that the City Council and County Commissioners have kicked the consolidation plan approval down the road for another month in to August?…that when and if an approval takes place that there is a 30 day window for final approval?…that right now we are looking at mid September as the earliest that there will be something for the people of Vanderburgh County to examine?…that we bet the can will get kicked down the road for at least two more months?…that if these politicians can do that, and believe me they can, that no one running for office this year will have to offer a position on the consolidation plan before this year’s City of Evansville elections?…that none of the candidates are particularly enthused about having to issue an opinion on a consolidation plan this year?…that this should have been ready to be an election issue in this year’s City of Evansville elections?

IS IT TRUE that the Convention Hotel is the can that kicks itself down the road, but that the Consolidation Plan is the can that gets kicked down the road?


  1. I’m bettinng that the hotel gets kicked around til after November, very few of our city council members actually want to go on record about anything controversial in an election year.

  2. Leaders lead. Politicians kick the can. We need to get the hotel project going and get a final version on consolidation so the voters will have ample opportunity to look at it. It will also give proponents and opponents of consolidation a chance to debate the merits of the plan. Hopefully, this can be done intelligently and without resorting to fear mongering.

    • Very astute comment Mr. O’Daniel. I agree with you. Do you realize that you just broke from the pack that some think you are a part of with that statement. If you believe what you just posted it is impossible for you to approve of the way the City of Evansville has been managed during the last 4 years.

      Do you think that the consolidation plan in its present form has enough substance to make any decisions on what the benefits are?

  3. As you may know, I am generally in favor of consolidation. The version that is likely to be adopted and presented for voters to approve will be only a start. As I have said previously, the plan will not be perfect in year one or year 5, but over time, with real committment from leaders, we will make government better. The consolidation plan in my mind does not go far enough, ie unified law enforcement, and thus becomes a watered down version. However, I recognize that it is a contentious provision which would likely derail the plan altogether. This at least gives it a chance. The benefits will be more difficult to define as a result of the exemption of 35% of the employees and the budget from the plan. It just means it will be done in later contracts.

    As to how the city has been run over the last term, I would disagree with you a little insomuch as the Arena has been constructed because of leadership. You don’t have to agree with everything that happens but at least a plan was made and acted upon. The results of the leadership are a mixed bag. For instance, the McCurdy project was a good idea and the city did what it could to promote the development. It has yet to come to fruition. The loft apartments clearly have made downtown Evansville more attractive. They also need to be filled. FDP is moving forward, albeit, at an expensive and sometimes ill advised way (apartments at the old safehouse??). On the business front, reports are that Evansville will recover from the recession much faster than many other cities. We lost Whirlpool, but retained American General/Springleaf. We have provided incentives for new business to come to Evansville and utilize Innovation Pointe and have worked with Berry Plastics to consolidate other well paying positions here in town.

    • Conor, are you aware that at Thursday’s meeting, the joint committee voted to prohibit any merger of the two law enforcement units until after a referendum vote no sooner than November TEN YEARS DOWN THE ROAD?

      Are you aware that the amendment to the plan, as worded Thursday, prohibits the mayor, the council, the FOP, the League of Women Voters, the People, John Boehner, President Obama, or anyone else from introducing an amendment whether by petition, ordinance, fiat, or deus ex machina by which the two agencies could be merged sooner than TEN YEARS DOWN THE ROAD?

      Conor, do you know that there is no accurate or reasonable projection of cost savings, benefits, or tax increases attached to the plan as it now stands? And that the financial analysis of the plan, which is attached as part of the plan, done by Crowe Horwath was done when the plan was far from complete, and now is only remotely pertinent to the plan as currently revised, and that Crowe Horwath is not bound by contract to come back and revise the financial analysis to reflect reality?

      Conor, as an attorney, are you familiar with the term “selling the public a pig in a poke?”

      • Correction: The motion to kick the police/sheriff merger down the road was worded, if I remember correctly, so that the council can ask the state legislature to authorize a referendum on the question no sooner than 2022, and that the referendum can appear on the local ballot no sooner than 2024. Reminds me sort of like the Warren Commission prohibition of the release of facts until anyone alive at the time of the decision will be dead by the time the pig is out of the poke.

        • I understand they kicked the can down the road till 2022 but they can still begin the process of working together and streamling their departments. It has worked reasonably well in the joint task force in dealing with drug investigations. I don’t see why they can’t have a centralized evidence room or cede certain areas of the city or county for the other to patrol. If they fail to work on this now, there is the chance of forcing it upon them on a much tighter time line. Of course, each will make the same claims in a decade. We shall see. In addition, even the proposed merger language before it was changed allowed for a longer transition on the departments and the cost savings would be by attrition not any specific savings tomorrow.

          As to Crowe Horwath, it is true the financial analysis they completed is now deemed largely moot. Perhaps another study could be done but it may ultimately be a waste of time and money. The financial savings will only be achieved by a committed common council that is willing to hold the line on unnecessary costs and make hard choices regarding other areas of government. There are many ways of achieving the same goal but when one side refuses to even look at the alternatives they become increasingly insignificant in the discourse.

          • couldn’t they decide to work together even without consolidation, hopefully they are all on the same side doing the same job.

          • Thanks to you and Soon2B for comprehensive posts that aid the understanding process.

            Making the largest opportunities for enhancing efficiency verboten until 2022 is not kicking the can down the road, it is hiding the can for the foreseeable future. This provision is the equivalent of malpractice.

            No thinking person can rebut the potential for good that can come from consolidation. Likewise no thinking person could reach a conclusion to support a plan that postpones that good into the next decade.

            This is vintage Evansville. It reminds me of the hotel project. It is entirely based on faith, avoids tackling the controversial details, and essentially does nothing but move a few lines on maps.

            In making the positive changes verboten, the seeds for defeat have been sown. It is a pity that real reform is impossible because of the passive way the committee followed the instructions of their master.

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