|Posted by Elwin Green on July 3, 2012 at 1:25 AM|
As promised, I spoke with both Councilman Ricky V. Burgess and Jerome M. Jackson, executive director of Operation Better Block, Inc. about what is to become of the Bridging the Busway plan, now that the completed document has been published.
"The idea was that OBB would be the keepers of the plan," Mr. Jackson said, "but no one has stepped up to the plate to say that they will actually do something that's in the plan. And no one was designated in the process to do that, to take on that task."
Could it wind up sitting on a shelf?
"We hope not, but it could because there was no designated to move it forward. So yes, sitting on a shelf is a possibility."
Even before the final public meeting was held to get the community input that would shape the final document, consultant Christine Brill expressed concern to me in a private conversation that there did not seem to be anyone who would take ownership of the plan once it was completed.
Ownership in this context does not refer to legal ownership of the plan as a piece of intellectual property (interestingly, the published plan lacks a copyright notice). It refers to someone taking responsibility for moving it forward.
I asked Councilman Burgess who owns the plan at this point.
"No one," he quickly replied.
"There needs to be some entity that advocates for it, and that pushes," he said. "I'm hoping that at some point the collaborative would be the ownership of it.
"That would be my short range goal, and that all the agencies that participate in that collaborative would own it and push it in the short term."
"The collaborative" is the East End Development Collaborative. This is the group that began meeting early in the year to talk about coordinating development efforts in Homewood, Lincoln-Larimer and Point Breeze North (in my first post about this group, I called it the East End Planning Committee. I've heard variations of the group's name, but I think East End Development Collaborative is now official.).
Councilman Burgess's comments were part of an exclusive interview in which we spoke for more than hour. Stay tuned for more from that conversation, about development in Homewood and the East End, communication challenges, and why in all of this, he doesn't have a goal in mind (yep, you read that right).