Monday, September 20, 2010


September 8, 2010, Site of former Blue Water Free Methodist Church--Was the congregation happy to move?

What is the future of the biggest infrastructure remodel in St. Clair County? Let's keep our eye on the ball, not just the wrecking ball. Has the Blue Water Bridge Plaza demolition & reconstruction project secured anymore than the 19% actual funding of the estimated $583 million for completion needed, last reported in the Times Herald on March 1, 2010? Apparently MDOT's effort to make a huge second Ambassador Bridge Plaza south of the current one has fallen short of funds, and been rejected. [see 9-20-10 report of "The Windsor Square" ]

Also overdue for investigation are the financial benefits [mitigation] received by Port Huron and St. Clair County to offset the losses we see almost daily in the pages of the Times Herald--pictures of perfectly good homes and businesses [and their tax base] demolished in the path of Bridge Plaza [Homeland Security] expansion. Rep. Candice Miller was instrumental in bring this plaza reconstruction to our town. She, MDOT, and the Times Herald should now provide updated accounting on the specifics of how this disruption of neighborhoods and businesses helps us.
Riverside Condominiums, of sound construction, being brought down, 8-25-10 Times Herald photo

The Times Herald negotiated with MDOT a weekly update on the number of completed home demolitions in the Bridge Plaza footprint. It features such information in frequent news reports headlined, "Bringing Down the Houses." What would serve the community better, with contribution from Rep. Miller and MDOT, would be weekly reports titled, "Bringing Up the Wages & Jobs in the Bridge Plaza Area." It would feature the actual contract money spent each week, of the estimated 583 million total, and the portion that went into the pockets of City of Port Huron, and St. Clair County, citizens and businesses.

Torrelo Demolitions has made some money, and the owner, a resident of the county, is investing in a new home in the City of Port Huron. There is some good in that.

Many footprint area residents have received buyouts and moved. What money has MDOT expended on this so far, demolitions and buyouts? A mixed blessing at best. How many of them bought new homes in the City of Port Huron? Their old neighborhoods are decimated, and remaining residents complain that some of those left are converting what were their homes, into rentals. [This will be illegal if a currently consider City Council resolution persists.]

study was done, and community group formed, to study the economic effects of the Bridge Plaza project and design new economic developments in our area. The T.H. 9-16-10 opinion page column by Jeff Beckett attests to the ongoing local effort of this St. Clair County Economic Strategic Development Plan, and everybody hopes some good progress will come of this. Wilbur Smith Associates, with offices from Houston to Hong Cong [as per their website], was to oversee this 1 million dollar project. How much have they been paid thus far—is the reported $220,000 the whole amount? Is there not a remaining $780, 000? Has our community group been paid, or are they to be paid, anything for their role in actually implementing the plan?

A bar graph should be published on a regular basis. Two columns: total thus far spent on the Blue Water Bridge Plaza, and the amount of that spent to local benefit. These are our tax dollars being expended. The infrastructure here and across the nation continues to crumble around us. Please Rep. Miller, MDOT, and Times Herald give us the facts and figures.

From Friends Committee on National Legislation leaflet

Our War on Terrorism and Homeland Security mindset of the past 10 years has contributed to the scuttling of our economy, and greatly diminished traffic across the Blue Water Bridge--one of the presumed reasons for the new plaza. The other dominant one being that the new plaza design would protect the bridge itself from terrorists. Misspent money on overwrought security here and countrywide has contributed to the self-inflicted sabotage of the very economic lifestyle we sought to make safe from all attack.

There are only two powers in the world--the power of the sword and the power of the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit. --- Napoleon

Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God's own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your heart and minds, in Christ Jesus. -- Philippians 4:4-7

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

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