Redevelopment welcomes Josh Staten as its new director. So does this mean Duggins is 4-ever NAHA? Let’s follow the money.

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“Just stick it over there, where
that nasty historic building used to be.” 

Jeeebus, what a week.

Just for the fun of it, let’s take a glance at a couple of items from the March 13 minutes of the Redevelopment Commission.

New Albany City Hall hasn’t blasted a propaganda blurb in a whole month, and it strikes me as strange that the hiring of Josh Staten as redevelopment director hasn’t been the subject of one of the usual PR puff pieces.

Maybe it’s because City Hall isn’t interested in answering the natural follow-up question: If David Duggins has departed redevelopment permanently (this crowd is on its feet), then does this mean his “interim” status at the helm of NAHA’s bulldozer fleet also has evaporated?

Or, will someone else be hired?

If so, how’s the job search going, Irving Joshua?

I’m so old I can remember when Duggins told me he just couldn’t earn enough money in government as opposed to the private sector, and that he was stooping to mere farthings solely out of a deep and abiding faith — in Dear Leader.

Now Duggins is a 125K-per annum lifer — but don’t worry, Mike Hall; the News and Tribune won’t ever think to ask, and if it does, just threaten to pull all those ads.

Hanson will shut up, fast.

As an aside, last night Mark reminded me of another one of those glorious episodes of “truthful dialogue” that Pat McLaughlin mentioned in his doomed resolution of censure. Duggins still was redevelopment’s handsome matinee idol, and he was being questioned (I think) by former 5th district councilwoman Diane Benedetti.

Benedetti asked Duggins about the then-rumor that sewer tap-in waivers were being awarded Flaherty and Collins, filthy rich developer of the Breakwater apartments. Duggins replied that yes, the topic had come up, but it remained purely optional.

Subsequently it was shown that in fact, the waivers already had been approved prior to Benedetti’s question and Duggins’ “truthful dialogue.” 

Prompting this recollection was David Barksdale’s report about redevelopment activities, as given at Monday evening’s city council meeting. He gleefully teased us with tidings of a hotel to come somewhere in New Albany.

A quick glance at the Dora Hospitality portfolio reveals a dreadful collection of plasticized cookie-cutter hotel brands best suited to suburban interchanges. It isn’t much in keeping with historic preservation, and now I’m terrified that more tap-in waivers will be distributed like Halloween candy to developers from afar.

Of course, maybe Josh Staten intends to be a different kind of Gahanite campaign finance conduit.

We shall see.

(This post has been updated to include this postscript and web site link to HMI, or Hospitality Marketers International, the company chosen by the Redevelopment Commission to conduct a hotel market study, as recommended to the commission by the hotel group and a realtor — not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with that. Thank you, CA.)

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