Thursday, October 31, 2019

Mayor John Cooper kills Gulch-SoBro pedestrian bridge

by Rod Williams -The pedestrian bridge to connect the Gulch to SoBro has been killed by Mayor Cooper. The $18 million project first proposed by Mayor Karl Dean has been in the planning since 2013.  Mayor Cooper said the money will be redirected to fund a variety of needed neighborhood projects.

The funding for the bridge was supposed to come from General Obligation Bonds, the debt paid off with Tax Increment Financing.  That was supposed to placate some people by making the argument that this meant it wasn't taking money from other projects to fund.  However, that was a shell game. It was like paying for it with money our of your right pocket rather than your left pocket. By financing with TIF what that amounted to was delaying money that would flow to the General Fund until after the Bridge was paid off.

I liked the concept of the bridge. I don't think that everything that makes the city more livable and attractive is a waste of money.  The bridge would have been a nice addition.  However, sometimes you just can't afford everything that would be nice to have.  The Gulch-Sobro bridge was like taking a trip to Disney World when the kid needs braces.

The money to be redirected will go to badly needed projects, such as $2.5 million will go toward replacing the deteriorating Charlotte Pike-Rosa Parks Boulevard bridge deck. Currently a temporary wood deck has been placed between the bridge beams to catch  falling concrete.

I am pleased with this action by Mayor Cooper.

For more see:
The Tennessean, Mayor John Cooper nixes Gulch-SoBro pedestrian bridge.
A Disgruntled Republican, Sept 11, 2014, Mayor Dean Proposes New Funding Strategy for Gulch - SoBro Pedestrian Bridge

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