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Councilmember Terry Crow Talks Firehouse Funds and Driving Range Lights

Councilmember Terry Crow's latest email to his constituents in the 1st Ward features his thoughts on the future Walgreens at Delmar and Delcrest, the Ruth Park Driving Range Lights and the funding of a new firehouse.

Hello 1st Ward Citizens:

Many of you saw me at the recent (which Tom and I volunteered for and underwrote), and you asked why you hadn't gotten an e-mail update from me lately. I guess I now know that people were reading them! I wasn't sure of that, but I plan to correct the fact that I haven't sent anything in a while. Following are a few things that have been going on at city hall that affect the quality of our lives here in U. City. As always, I invite you to contact me with your thoughts, feelings, and insights about any or all of these issues.

Jackson Avenue Pedestrian Light: The city council has approved work on a new pedestrian light for Jackson Avenue. This will make the crosswalk there accessible per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The work will be funded primarily by a federal grant, which will cover 80% ($131,200) of the cost, with the city supplying the rest ($32,800) from general revenue. I feel this needed improvement is a wise use of our city's resources that will benefit those in need. This use of funds positively reflects the values of our city.

I am very pleased to report that we are moving forward with an important new commercial development at this prominent location. It promises to be up to a $30 million project that will include a new Walgreens, office space, and a residential component. The council voted unanimously to approve this. I look forward to working with the development team on this site. Our city has struggled at times with our reputation with the development community. It is my hope that our city administration will work in a cooperative manner with the development team on this project for the benefit of our entire community.

The decision by our city manager to discontinue lighting our public driving range continues to be a point of contention for many residents. Because the project, including the lights, was partially funded by a grant from the Parks Commission, our city council really needs to take a vote on giving the money back to that entity. By allowing the lights to be turned off, we have not held up our end of the grant, which was awarded with the understanding that the commission was funding a lighted driving range for night-time use for both residents and non-resident guests. Our city manager continues to insist that he needs to see another lighting study, in addition to the one he already commissioned, of which he doesn't accept the results. It seems that what could have been a source of steady revenue for the city is costing us more and more as our city manager tries to build a case against those who disagree with his decision.

There are arguably many good reasons for our city to build a new firehouse. Furthermore, stimulus funds from the federal government continue to make now a good time for us to start doing so. However, since September 2009, we've known that the original size of the grant for this purpose was reduced considerably. In addition, since plans were begun, construction cost estimates have gone up, management costs have been added, and previously-overlooked lighting costs as well. So the original price tag for the city has increased from around $200,000 to over $800,000. While this is still probably a great deal for the city, these cost increases should have been taken into account in the most recent city budget. Citizens have a right to know the true costs of the things the city is investing their tax money in, and I feel that the cost of this important project has been presented dishonestly. In addition, I question our city manager's ultimate goal of moving not only the fire department but also the police department out of its current location near City Hall. Land that he has proposed for this move, at Olive and Midland, was purchased with your tax dollars for the express purpose of economic development, not for the purpose of building a public facility like a police station. And once we move our firefighters and police department out of the historic building at 6801 Delmar, what are we to do with that structure? Many uncertainties about this long-term plan remain, and this is the time for citizens to voice their questions and concerns. The ONLY public hearing on the new fire house will be held at City Hall during the next City Council meeting that will be held Monday, October 24th at 6:30 p.m. I hope that you will feel free to share your opinions on this important issue with us at the public hearing. It is important that all sides be heard. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to share your opinions with me by e-mail or phone.

Thank you all for your interest in and commitment to our city's government. I am honored to represent you, and I invite you to share your thoughts on these and other issues facing the city council today.

-Terry Crow

Dave Olander October 20, 2011 at 02:41 PM
As before Mr Crow's emails are apparently sent only to selected constituents, as we are not included. He is, I guess, not inclusive. Wonder how he chooses to discriminate? If you cut me, do I not bleed?
Barbara Heise October 20, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Just out of curiosity, did you send Terry a request to be on his list??? That's what I did!
Cindy October 20, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Isn't putting it out on the Patch inclusive - not just for first ward residents, but for any resident to read?
Charles F October 20, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Dave, Seriously? As before, Mr. Crow sends his Emails to the selected constituents that have enough common sense to ask or request to be put on his mailing list. Also, as mentioned by Cindy, it's on the Patch for anyone throughout the world that has internet access to read.
Kim October 20, 2011 at 05:46 PM
I think he sends it to anyone who wants to be on his email list. I asked to be on it, and I am. I'm not sure what you imagine the alternative is - if you have list of email addresses for every person in UCity I'm sure there are a lot of people who would love to use it. Saying he is being discriminatory is just silly. If it were even possible for him to send it to everyone in UCity there would be many complaining about being spammed. If you want to get the emails, just ask. Or wait to read them the next day on the Patch. I have never received a single email from any other council member - are they all discriminatory too? Good grief
Steve October 20, 2011 at 08:51 PM
I think the quote is from Merchant of Venice-"If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, do we not revenge?" The character is saying this to justify taking a pound of flesh from his enemy.
M Martinez October 21, 2011 at 01:39 AM
Thanks for the clarification Steve. All the nasty comments on this site, Facebook, the West End Word, and so on and so on make sense now...revenge. Must have been some kind of wrong.
Rosa Sharon October 22, 2011 at 01:59 PM
My Councilman has never sent me an email, Dave, so don't feel like the Lone Ranger. Give Terry the benefit of the doubt and request that he include you on his list. I wonder why Mr. Walker didn't like the Ruth Park lighting study? If the Police move to Olive and Midland, they will be closer to the higher crime area of UC. That might be good. Not that there isn't plenty of crime immediately northeast of the Loop.
Steve October 23, 2011 at 10:43 PM
M- I don't know what you are talking about-the only one seeking revenge was a character in a play. The point of that is this type of justification is misplaced.
Lisa Hummel October 24, 2011 at 09:02 PM
I think it's clear that he did not like the study because it contradicted his decision to turn off the lights. It is my understanding that the study showed that the lights were not causing any significant spillover, and also that Mr. Walker commissioned this study himself. I guess he assumed it would justify his decision, and when it didn't, he decided he'd like to use our tax money on yet another study. Perhaps he would like to correct me in this forum if my information is wrong. Or maybe he'll just ask to have my comment removed!

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