Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Metro Action Executive Defends Interruption and Alteration of Salemtown Streetscape Project; Blames Others for Lack of Knowledge

Responding to my e-mail to Council Member Erica Gilmore protesting the 11th-hour wrench her department has thrown into the Salemtown streetscape works, MAC Executive Director Cynthia Croom writes:
It is correct that we requested a temporary suspension of the work (one week) that was being done in front of our building, not for the reasons stated but because we simply had no idea what was happening. We learned of the street scrapes on Tuesday, May 13th .... We asked if we could have until the following Monday to understand what was going on and to attempt to request any adjustment as this was going to reduce available space for parking on the street in front of our building and we needed to see what impact this would have. We were told at that time that we had been sent notices for the past few years. We asked that they check to see who the notices might have gone to in our building. It was then that they discovered that we were never sent notices but that the notices had been sent to the Metro 222 building to a department in that location. It was possibly not forwarded to us as we were scheduled to move from our current property. Nevertheless, we made no request that a permanent halt to this project take place. We did ask that the streetscapes in front of our building not be added because we are a little more worried that this could create more traffic concerns for our neighbors as we have small deliveries made to the front of our building because the back stairs are steep and cannot accommodate deliveries to the upstairs without an increased possibility of injury. We were told that our neighbors would have to agree to that request.
Every day that our streetscape project is delayed eats up more block grant money. This is a clear example of one department, Metro Action, holding a federally-funded project hostage at the last minute because of the failures of either MDHA or the interoffice mailing system to deliver notices for over three years that Salemtown had a block grant and a construction project. It is not as if federal block grants are private matters or that the Salemtown grant was not publicized a year ago by another Metro agency, when it came up on the Metro Council agenda for approval.

This project as originally scheduled should have started a year ago and I'm beginning to wonder whether it will ever be complete as originally recommended by the elected neighborhood committee members. MDHA is now using this as a pretense to hold another meeting with the neighbors (further delay), and CM Gilmore has responded that she would like to bring the two sides together to reach a consensus (even further delay). I can't help but see these extra meetings as once again accommodating MAC's special interests that they should have communicated earlier. And the admission above that the Executive Director intends to last-minute cherry-pick certain elements of the streetscape--which was already approved by a consensus of neighborhood leaders--is bad faith on her part.

I mean, come on; if Metro Action was truly engaged with Salemtown to begin with would the mere misdelivery of a mailer have stopped them from knowing about the project and participating accordingly?

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention the fact that offers have been made regarding a temporary parking solution next door to MAC. This solution wasn't even considered by MAC and instead rebuffed.