By Bradley Harrington
“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” – Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to William Ludlow,” 1824 –
Another item from the “Man, you just can’t make this stuff up” department:
“The Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority is hoping to buy the large vacant building at the northwest corner of 17th Street and Carey Avenue. DDA officials announced … that they will apply to the Wyoming Business Council for a grant to buy the building …” (“Cheyenne DDA aims to purchase Z’s Furniture building,” WTE, July 10.)
Hmmm … An influx of money at the DDA, right? Not quite, inasmuch as a scant two months ago DDA officials were begging the Cheyenne City Council for a bailout of $650,000 annually.
And the reason for this “welfare” request? Come June 30, 2016, the lion’s share of the DDA’s TIF loot (money raised from city sales taxes) disappears into the bit bucket. That’s because Cheyenne Light departed DDA’s TIF boundaries for – heh – “greener” pastures.
So: Just where does the DDA plan on getting the money to fix up the Z’s Furniture building, even assuming the Business Council is stupid enough to front them the cred to buy the dump?
Will that dough just magically drop out of the clouds, like the proverbial manna from heaven?
Well, the DDA does have “$250,000 in its economic development account.” Only problem is, the dump is in such a disastrous state of disrepair that DDA President Hans Seitz said he expects “the building to fall in on itself if something isn’t done.”
That’s right: The Z’s building, it seems, “has encountered years of neglect and suffered damage from water as well as from pigeons. Black mold and asbestos are there too.”
Yep, and probably bats, squirrels, spiders, snakes, elk, antelope and maybe some plague bacilli and carbon dioxide “pollutants” too.
But, back to the issue of funding the “repairs”: “It could cost as much as $5.7 million to pay for improvements like new floors, walls and exteriors,” DDA Executive Director Amy Surdam said.
Shucks, that covers just about everything that makes a building a building. But given that this stuff always costs more than is estimated, this could get real pricey, real quick. Heck, it might even end up costing as much to “revitalize” this “fixer upper” as it’s gonna cost to build the “Children’s Museum,” Ms. Surdam’s other pet project.
Who knows? Figuring in cost overruns and everything, it might end up being as pricey as our “Capitol renovation” project before it’s all said and done. And just as useful too.
And, of course, in all three cases the “funding” will be the same: The plundering of taxpayer pockets, which know no depth but that some greedy politician can’t plumb them for their own prestige.
I’ve got a much better idea: Let’s turn the dump into a zoo.
After all, it’s only a couple of blocks away from The Hole’s soon-to-be “Children’s Museum,” so it won’t take long for the kiddies to traipse on over. Besides, it appears that most of the needed animals are in there already, so that’ll save a bundle of taxpayer dollars too.
Plus, think of the zoo’s repopulation possibilities. Anytime Animal Control catches a cat, dog, goose, bear or mastodon, they can just unlock the front door, pitch it inside and be done with it.
And animal upkeep? From the sounds of things, the dump’s got water to spare, and the inhabitants can just eat each other for dinner. After all, that’s what happens in the real world, so eco-freaks intent on “preserving nature” should really like that.
So: Just what, exactly, are residents to think of this foolishness?
Perhaps the best assessment was given by former DDA Board member Richard Loveless. He just up and quit going to board meetings one day and had this to say on his way out the DDA door:
“The DDA board is worried more about planters and trees than getting the police downtown, he said. ‘I can’t deal with the spineless BS that goes on with the DDA,’ he said, calling for new leadership.” (“DDA group looks to fill two vacancies on board,” WTE, July 2.)
Maybe that “new leadership” can consist of some animal trainers to protect the “Children’s Museum” kiddies on their zoo tours. Or, at this point, Mickey Mouse or Donald Trump are looking pretty good as candidates.
Or even better yet, let’s just ax to death this joke of “parasites living on the labor of the industrious” known as the DDA and not have any “leadership” at all.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.