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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lynchburg Midtown Plan: The Beginning of the Controversy

Lynchburg taxpayers paid 190,000 dollars for a plan, well lets call it a vision, for the future development of midtown. There is no question that this area is blighted, that some would be nervous about going there at night, and the Plaza is virtually a desert of a once thriving
oasis of business.

In a previous post,
we questioned this expense of bringing an out of town consulting company, to show Lynchburg what it wants. We are not saying that Victor Dover of Florida-based Dover, Kohl & Partners did some, outside of the box thinking, and did present some good ideas. We are saying why didn't the city consider doing this study themselves. And if they needed help, go to the community and seek local professionals. Why not keep this money that was spent in Lynchburg? Do we have to rely on a firm from Florida to do our creative thinking for us?

The midtown plan, as presented, is fraught with difficulties of implementation. There are elephants in the room and the city is trying to ignore. Much of the property recommended to reconstruct, does not belong to the city, and the cost outlays recommended are well outside the city's means. There are going to be lots of reactions to this plan. Some are just beginning to surface Walgreens may take a hike from plans to build in the midtown.

Here is an excert from The News and Advance
when Schaefer Oglesby addressed the City Council:

Schaefer Oglesby, who wants to sell part of his apartment complex to Walgreens, said council’s inaction on the matter has cost him time and money.

“I’m just burnt out on the thing,” he said. “Vote it up or down. It should have happened already.”

He said the Midtown study was completed so city officials could blame their decision not to rezone the property on an out-of-town firm.

“Some council members wanting to rely on some kind of so-called study is ridiculous,” he said of the $190,000 Midtown plan. “I’m just disturbed as a taxpayer of the city. This was a gross waste of taxpayer dollars.”

In 2006 there is 78,000 on the budget for consultation for the Planning Commision. We are wondering what will the city do next?

(Local news) (City Council and local issues)


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