One way or another, let us know: either we're going forward with this ballpark, or we're going to settle for something else. But please, we're not certain we have the time, inclination or patience to read yet one more story with the same old plotline and the same old characters.
Every day, the news repeats itself in a surreal loop-da-loop. It goes this way: the Sounds want a new ballpark. Metro Council wants a ballpark but affirms the body's utter uselessness by saying it has no power to get it done. The mayor's office asserts concerns over the Sounds' financing and says the proposal is now in the hands of the council.
Nobody wants to take charge.
And so, there's no closure, no resolution. Then, once again, déja vu: The Sounds repeat that they want a new ballpark. The Metro Council repeats that it wants a stadium but again proclaims it has no control over the issue. The mayor's office expresses financing concerns, says it's in the hands of the council.
Enough with Groundhog Day. Memo to mayor: Let's do this, or don't do it and move on.
First of all, conduct an urban design review for the site. This should have been done long before the Sounds proposal was even considered, and well before Metro Council held its public hearings a month ago to review proposals from developers interested in the site. This is an extremely valuable 11.5 acres we're talking about, after all. And such a study would spell out some broad development objectives for the property and how it should fit in with downtown. It may be that a minor league park with some retail and residential thrown in would be ideal for the site. But other than basing this conclusion on the word of developers who stand to make a bunch of money out of doing a deal, do we really know this to be the case?
Set a timetable for the release of the study. Let the Sounds, other interested developers, Metro Council and the public know you're doing this. Once you've got the study in hand, release copies. Then, tell all interested developers you will be reviewing all of their proposals, which is, after all, your duty.
Once again, set a timetable. Tell them you'll give them all an answer in, say, three months. During that time, determine the proposals' costs and benefits, taking into account their financing, architecture/planning and overall benefit to the city.
Then, move on it. Pick one or pick none at all.
Mayor, the Scene has heard, over the years, various grumblings about you from those in the business community. The general rap is that you're not "pro-business" enough. We would dispute that based on the quantityand qualityof businesses you've recruited here. But honestly, if we were in the Sounds' shoes, or any of the others who wanted to develop the Thermal site, we'd have a beef. We'd be frustrated. We'd be wondering what was up.
You haven't said yes. You haven't said no. Instead, you've said maybe. Businessmen hate maybe. Sayor dosomething.