Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Past as Prologue

With the Winter Olympic Games at Sochi ended and the Boys of Summer starting spring training in a matter of moments, there’s just enough time left for the Great American Pastime, Second-Guessing. Actually, there’s always room for Jell-O and enough time for second-guessing (but not about Jell-O).

Maybe because I’m a little fatigued from snow shoveling and our winter or maybe because I’m just tired of politely putting up with murmurings and mutterings from Norwich neighbors who not only know everything but know everything better (and if you don’t think so, just ask them), I’m less than tolerant of posturing and finger pointing than I usually am. Not that I ever tire of doing it myself.

And if you think I’m talking about the drama and trauma surrounding the Ice Rink as well as the Hampton Inn Resuscitation, you’ve just won yourself a heaping helping of Jell-O. You can pick the flavor. Guten appetit.

I admit the only thing I know about ice is it clinks when you drop it in a glass, thus proving I am unqualified to ever utter a sentence containing the phrase “we should.” Besides, I’m more comfortable with “we could.”

The Ice Rink is now a poster child for Six Phases of a Project: Enthusiasm, Disillusionment, Panic Search for the guilty, Punishment of the innocent, and Praise and honor for the non-participants. Not that any of that helps us develop a solution, but still we do it.

If I had a dollar for every person who, so far, has offered an “I told you so…” I would have enough money to buy a new chiller for every skater who has ever used the rink. Forever. And if my Mom had married a Kennedy, I’d be living in the White House. Aren’t you impressed with how smart we always are in hindsight? Yeah, me neither.

So what’s happened so far in regards to the abandoned hotel hear 395 South? Nothing-don’t care what you think you heard or read. Last week’s City Council scheduled a public hearing exactly a month from today, March 26, on the Norwich Community Development Corporation, NCDC, plan for Hampton Inn Project Development Plan. That’s it.

The eye-catcher in the plan is “Tax Increment Financing” which I believe lets us trade 100% of tax revenues on something certainly not worth very much right now for full taxes on a fully completed property later. Drive by 154 Salem Turnpike and see for yourself. Then do the math.

There’s a lot more in the plan but you’d never know it, judging from the on-line comments and Monday morning quarterbacking in local papers during the days that followed (the Super Bowl is over and none of us are going to Disneyland) mostly by people who weren’t even in Council Chambers Tuesday night.

The Hampton Project Municipal Development Plan-to give it its official title- is on line right here. You should read it, maybe in addition to the drive-by on-line comments or better yet, instead of them.

The only thing that continues to keep us from succeeding is fear and distrust based on a past we cannot change and will not forgive. We are prisoners of our history but have the key to our own chains.
-bill kenny

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