ON THE AVENUES: Amid Deaf Gahan’s “victory” over grassroots activists at Colonial Manor, the toxic paranoia is no less rancid.

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There are many available spaces in the six-acre shopping center we all know as Colonial Manor. It was built in 1965, and its absentee owners are asking $4 – $6 per square foot. Leasing rates in a strip center near the hospital are twice this cost, as they are in the Elsby Building downtown.

Several weeks back, neighborhood stakeholder frustration with Colonial Manor’s long decline led to the emergence of that rarest of New Albanian beasts: A well-organized, focused and potentially sustainable group of grassroots activists calling itself Colonial Manor Redevelopment Visioning.

The group will have a listening session on April 24.

Colonial Manor Redevelopment Visioning explains itself.

The purpose of this citizen-organized, grassroots, non-partisan Facebook Group is to envision possibilities and positive ideas for the potential redevelopment of the Colonial Manor center area on Charlestown Road in New Albany. It is designed to collect ideas, primarily from those living in or doing business within a one-mile radius of Colonial Manor.

Governmental thoughts about Colonial Manor’s future have been bubbling tepidly on the back burner for so long that a balanced context is difficult, although as long ago as 2009, former council person John Gonder’s discussion of a different kind of redevelopment for sites like Colonial Manor was falling on Deaf ears (Gahan was council president at the time).

Suffice to say that in 2019, when Team #MyNA Gahan belatedly learned there was a grassroots neighborhood initiative underway, the ruling clique reacted to this thoughtful, well-conceived and firmly non-partisan effort by sending Warren Nash in riot gear running through inhumane City Hall corridors screaming “EBOLA! We’re all gonna DIE!”

And so the Redevelopment Commission’s upper echelon of fixers went into late-night hyperspace. Boilerplate plans from a campaign donor firm quickly were cobbled together, a public comment session with no public comment allowed was held, the battered TIF piggy bank was shaken down to its hooves, and voila — here’s the official plan, straight from the unprecedented mind of Dear Leader, ready to be rubber-stamped just in time for the primary election.

City one step closer to purchasing Colonial Manor Shopping Center, by Chris Morris (Religion Today Newspaper)

New Albany City Council must approve purchase

… The New Albany Redevelopment Commission unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to purchase the property for $2.6 million. The city council will also have to sign off on the purchase before the lot is put on the market. The commission will then take proposals from developers on not only a purchase price, but what vision they may have for the property.

“If we don’t do something there I am pretty sure whoever owns the property is not going to do anything with it,” said Irving Joshua, redevelopment commission president. “At this point for us to move forward we have got to go get this.”

The money to purchase the property would come out of the Charlestown Road Tax Increment Financing fund.

Then, down at the housing authority where he works at a job given to him by the Democratic Party’s power brokers, councilman Matt Nash received a text from Adam “Tricky” Dickey informing Nash that the Colonial Manor TIF Plan was his, to be used wisely in an uphill re-election campaign.

Okay, this is satire. But is satire still satire when it’s true?

Meanwhile the surgeon general (or maybe it was Dr. Tom) has advised rational, fact-based onlookers in New Albany to stop shaking their heads so often, lest spinal damage result. After all, TIF can do anything, but can it pay for community chiropractic?

It’s endlessly fascinating to watch Gahanism in action. It’s about power, money and control; all ideas must emanate from the same centralized “genius” source, although it bears repeating that if absolute power corrupts absolutely, you’d have to go to Belarus or Pyongyang to find a better example of it than right here in Anchor City.

ON THE AVENUES: Gahan’s hoarding of power and money is a threat to New Albany’s future.

Gahan’s pursuit of power has been relentless, marked by an insatiable thirst for money and a fetish for silence and secrecy, as opposed to discussion and openness.

Gahan’s primary objective has been the accumulation of as much unrestrained political power as can be gained by a big fish in this otherwise small pond; to raise as much money as he possibly can through pay-to-play campaign finance patronage; and to deploy his concentration of power and money to limit decision-making to an inner circle of cliquish elites.

And yet with the monkeys uncaged and the circus clowns manning the wheel of the paranoid Good Ship Gahan-plop, the Colonial Manor Redevelopment Visioning effort marches forward, oblivious to the murmurings and innuendo from City Hall, which cannot imagine that anyone would differ with its narrative of goodness and perfection — and those who do, well, whose payroll are THEY on, anyway?

Have something you want your New Albany City Council members to hear about Colonial Manor, the importance of citizen input and oversight, and your concerns about the process so far and into the future? The council will act this Thursday, 7 p.m., in the 3rd Floor assembly room, on the recommendation for the city’s purchase of the six-acre tract of land that is presently Colonial Manor and propose a process for how decision making will proceed from here. Yes, it is Holy Week and a lot of us are busy with that but this is very important, too. Please come if you can to speak your thoughts or just to cheer some of your neighbors and friends on, as we continue to work so tirelessly to build accountability and transparency into the Colonial Manor decision-making process. Can’t attend? Contact your city council representative in advance to voice your thoughts and ideas. If you need to know who your council representative is and how to contact them, PM or post up here and one of our team will help you. For all you continue to do for our New Albany neighborhoods, thank you! #colonialmanorrising

Let’s wish those amazing Colonial Manor neighborhood stakeholders the best. I’ll be live-tweeting from the council chambers this Thursday evening.

Who knows? The 5th district councilman might actually speak this time.

Recent columns:

April 9: ON THE AVENUES: It’s time for a change, and David White understands that change begins with a whole lotta scrubbing.

April 2: ON THE AVENUES: Donnie Blevins tells his story.

March 26: ON THE AVENUES: Gahan’s hoarding of power and money is a threat to New Albany’s future.

March 19: ON THE AVENUES: In 1989, six months of traveling fabulously in Europe.

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