This morning the following was posted on the Armory Park listserv:
You have seen some discussion here about the City’s intent to expand the Central Business District (CBD) in Armory Park, prompted by Martha’s email. Yesterday your APNA Board of Directors approved a response to the related Findings of Conditions Report and expansion of the CBD within Armory Park. Both are attached as PDF documents.
The report’s statements of conditions within Armory Park are grossly inaccurate. The adjectives slum and blighted were applied to the entire proposed expansion area, including the Stone/6th Avenue corridor within Armory Park. These labels were legally essential to expand the CBD and permit the generous tax relief which can help large property development. Since there are no large vacant properties in the AP CBD area, demolition will be required to construct large developments. The CBD is the foundation for large subsidized property developments. They may take many years to appear. In Armory Park, first settled in the 1870s, we must take the long view.
At the public Zoom meeting last Wednesday, I was told that the report was not subject to rebuttal because it was merely a “finding of facts”. Our only option, the staff attorney said, would be to ask the Mayor and Council to reject the report. That effort begins today.
In the current post factual world, it is not surprising to learn of a factual report which is not factual. Nevertheless, we cannot allow these characterizations of our neighborhood to go unchallenged. The organization responsible for the report, the Office of Economic Initiatives, prepared the report and it is not hard to imagine in what direction their bias might lie. Had they consulted others, the bias might have been less prominent. APNA was not consulted or informed before the report was published. This is poor staff work at best or manipulation at worst. Mayor and Council should be embarrassed by the poor staff work. We can hope that the City Manager will be called to account.
There is another public meeting by Zoom at 11 this morning. I expect it will be another PR event but I will still participate. John Burr and I will represent the APNA position but don’t expect any change to result. If things go as expected, our first approach to Mayor and Council will happen this afternoon.
Public pressure is the only means likely to change the situation at this late date. Other residential neighborhoods are also being wrapped into the expanded CBD. If you have contacts in any of them, please alert them to the danger for their communities.