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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The News And Advance: Next Question for Lynchburg Council Candidates

Each Week the News and Advance has been asking a question of the Lynchburg City Council Candidates. This week the question was:

Question: Yes or no. Was hiring a consultant to draft the city’s Midtown plan a
prudent use of taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?

The yes votes were made by:

Robert Bailey
Joan Foster
Rob Jarvis
Joan Foster
Nat Marshall

The no votes were made by:

Joe Freeman
Scott Garrett
Jason Campbell
Edie Light
Chuck Gammon

Bert Dodson could not be reached for comment, and he joined Anthony Howard who has never been reached for comment on any of the questions.

To read all the individual responses go to the News and Advance, but here is one answer by Joan Foster who was Vice Mayor at the time:

YES. One year ago, most residents had not heard of Midtown; today the area has
come to life as a result of this study. The Midtown plan calls for development
in a diversified way, and is already being championed for its potential by
Lynchburg College, Centra Health, local businesses and residents.

To read how all the Lynchburg Council Candidates responded go to the News and Advance.

My opinion is that the mid town plan which cost the tax payers over 190,000 dollars was a poor use of the tax payers money. The city could have done this assessment on their own, they could have used input from the property owners in the area, and if it was beyond their expertise they could have solicited local help. One interesting prospect would have had a design contest offered to Universities, such as the University of Virginia that has a fine architectural school.

Here is how Baltimore has used contests for neighborhood planning.

Design contests are perhaps one of the best ways to get ideas. After the Pentagon bombing, landscape and a memorial garden was competed for by contest.

Contest like these would have gotten an influx of creative designs, and at a much lower cost to the city tax payers. Before the city council decides to spend our tax dollars on consultations that cost nearly .2 million dollars, wouldn't it be great if they thought outside the box?

To see all our posts on the Mid Town Plan go here.


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