In truth, Team Gahan’s politically-motivated ineptitude produced its Colonial Manor fiasco — but neighborhood activists continue “moving forward.”


We’ve established that Team Gahan is prone to being scandalously “butthurt” (as the kids like to say) whenever it is challenged with facts, as when city council finally asserted itself to the exclusion of secretive backroom redevelopment fixes like the one proposed at Colonial Manor.

Council rejects Gahan’s, Redevelopment’s Colonial Manor tax increment financing lollapalooza by a 5-4 vote. Alterations to come?

One major reversal in eight years, and they’re emptying the lockers of rubber truncheons and doing that Goebbels jig.

As usual, the truth lies elsewhere.

Let’s focus on Jeff Gahan’s breathtakingly brazen string of fake facts and outright lies about Colonial Manor.

If one takes the time to unravel Team Gahan’s ongoing Colonial Manor narrative, it is filled with imprecise cutting, sloppy pasting and inept choreography. In short, City Hall whiffed on three pitches. Yesterday councilman and mayoral aspirant (Independent) Dan Coffey brought us up to date.

I learned Wednesday that the offer from the Redevelopment Commission to purchase the Colonial Shopping Center is no longer an option. I was told there was a short time for the city to comply with the offer and could not do so with the conditions set forth by the council. Too many questions about this project went unanswered and the public’s need to know didn’t seem to be considered. Congratulations to the people who stood firm and wouldn’t allow this project to happen without your input. Democracy still works if given the chance!

Josh Turner, the GOP’s candidate for New Albany’s 5th district council and a grassroots organizer seeking a future for Colonial Manor, agreed and replied to Coffey with an excellent point.

Just think, if this wasn’t over appraisal it would already be purchased and five people at Redevelopment would have complete control over the property.

Because the forever smug Team Gahan’s “process” at Colonial Manor was strictly reactive, with election year political imperatives hastily brought to fruition in order to check the mortal threat of citizen participation, Redevelopment’s proposed purchase price for the Colonial Manor property was higher then the appraisals, legally necessitating the council vote.

As Turner points out, had City Hall taken the time to finesse the price, Redevelopment already would be planning the mixed use development with its chosen no-bid, professionally contracted architects, engineers and consultants, all of whom are eager to tithe to the closed circle of pay-to-play patronage.

Gahan’s first quarter CFA-4 has been filed, and it’s another massive, quivering edifice of pay-to-play cash.

The most interesting thing about this Gahanesque fiasco has been the least documented. Redevelopment director Staten conceded that the city had sought the assistance of private sector developer Chad Sprigler, whose family owns apartments nearby on Slate Run Road, in order to “negotiate” with Colonial Manor’s owners — to speak their language.

This is weird even by David Duggins’ tortuous standards of illogic. I asked an insider to comment.

Why use an apartment builder to negotiate a commercial lot for the city? They are under-qualified to do this because it is not their core strength. Sprigler must have been paid a fee for doing so. Moreover, how does this connect the dots to the Spriglers’ deal at Cross Creek apartments on Green Valley? The Spriglers couldn’t handle the expense of necessary repairs, and so the city bailed them out (at a loss to the Spriglers) via the New Albany Housing Authority. Now NAHA will spend $4 million to make them into voucher housing. Of course Sprigler took a tax deduction for the loss, and now they’re doing the city’s job at Colonial Manor. I’ve yet to see Gahan botch one as badly as Colonial Manor, but that’s political desperation for you.

With Team Gahan pouting and churlish, we look to community organizer Kathy Copas for a nugget of genuine interest amid Redevelopment’s smoldering wreckage. Take careful note of the significance. Without any “help” from the city, ground level networking has independent small businesses talking to Kathy and each other, providing a glimpse of what can happen at the grassroots prior to top-down, politically-motivated TIF solutions.

When politicians like Gahan seek mistakenly to take credit for things like the concentration of food and drink establishments downtown, the best route to dismiss the chugging of Kool-Aid is to think about the way entrepreneurs and investors actually make decisions: on the ground, talking to others like them, applying shoe leather to walking and networking — precisely the way Kathy recounts her discussions with business owners.

This is the way sustainable critical mass comes about. Team Gahan can’t grasp it because not one of the mayor’s closest associates ever owned a small indie business. In truth, they haven’t got a clue about the way small indie businesses really work.

Take it away, Kathy.

Hundreds more have now watched the video of last week’s Colonial Manor Listening Session and many have joined with the rest of us in continuing to think, dream, and strategize around how we can all do more to give Colonial Manor a real future and a hope.

As we contemplate further actions by our city officials, one especially interesting and exciting thing has been consistently bubbling up, this time from a number of our community’s existing small business owners. Several of them have emerged and said something along the lines of—“Well, my little business already offers that in another part of town. If people want that for Colonial Manor, and we had some help and support, we would love to expand to Colonial Manor, too!”

Wow. Does anyone else find that as full of incredible possibilities as we do? What else have you seen, heard, or been thinking about since we gathered? Let’s keep the listening and conversation going! #colonialmanorrising