Urban Planning; Costly, Cyclical, Model Cities, the 1960s Redux

Just got the Annual Budget for Kentwood; we had 3 days to review it (just to re-assure our patient taxpayers how we carefully consider their interests.)

Several areas caught my attention, especially in light of the recent Economist showing that urban planning adds substantial costs to life in the big city.

It seems that we may spend 25K to hire a consultant to guide us in re-zoning So. Division to encourage walkable, bikable, etc. re-development there. Another note mentions the possibility that we may need tax dollars to demolish some of the buildings. The Silver Line will not be allowed to be the last waste!

This is reminiscent of Urban Renewal, you know, the 1950s vapor when excited visionaries got congress to spend good money tear down the original downtowns and established ethnic  neighborhoods as they did in Grand Rapids, destroying the West Side and much of picturesque Division Ave.

So far as I know, the Silver Line has not performed especially well; one hears little about its ridership leading me to believe that it’s not great, else the proprietors would have crowed loudly.

To keep the balance sheets accurately; we’ve spent 40 million to construct the Silver Line, 15.3 million in extra taxes imposed annually on the 350,000 people who live in the 6 cities involved in The Rapid network (that’s 44 dollar for each man woman and child in Kentwood, or 2.2 million.)

There has been no interest on the part of investors in properties on South Div, no applications for new housing or businesses, not even for any more hot pillow joints, none. The area is an economic zero.

I have no idea where the inspiration for sending more money down this rathole arose. Economically,  eliminating Planning would save us a lot of grief, but saving money, like telling the truth, is an orphan.

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