City-County Councilwoman (and others) on the park...

Dateline: Mon 21 Aug 2006

City-County Councilwoman Jackie Nytes, who represents the area north and east of the Polin Park and the Julia Carson Government Center, is often a voice of reason when it comes to urban life. Well, at least she always answers her phone or returns my calls.

Here is what the Democrat had to say about the issue -- i.e., putting an adult-beverage lounge in the public government center that bears Carson's name; lack of bidding for the space and various zoning irregularities as identified by Advance Indiana; and the paving over of the city's Polin Park for a parking lot to accommodate the new "playground" for Center Township investors. (FYI, Nytes represents areas north and east of the Fall Creek location. The Metropolitan Development Commission recently agreed to delay a vote on the plan until Oct. 4.)

"I was actually talking with some of the same people (Center Township trustee Carl Drummer, constable Tony Duncan, investor Lacy Johnson III) about how exciting it would be to develop another restaurant on the Near Northside. I had suggested a Keystone (Avenue) location. I am interested in seeing some economic development on Keystone just north of Fall Creek, between 40th to 50th. I was hoping we might see something develop there. I was disappointed when I saw this location instead."

Asked whether the club would be private -- which is one of the bad ideas floating around out there, Nytes said, "I have asked people point blank about that and was assured no, that would not happen. I have asked point blank about whether my neighbors and I would be welcome there and I was told of course."

When I referred to Polin Park as a park, Nytes said, "It really wasn't a park. It was a playground from a daycare center that was not there anymore. I think it is inaccurate to characterize it as a park."

Her worst-case scenario is that the private investors did not follow the law in developing this project, as reported in Advance Indiana and here:

"I had hoped that what the blogs say about people not having followed the correct codes and permitting processes are inaccurate. That would disappoint me. The highest and best use of space is the other issue. I am not convinced that this is the highest use of that space. But having said that, I know space has not been occupied there not for awhile."

Finally, Nytes addressed what the area does need, in her opinion:

"I think the neighborhood needs day care. Why that day care (that was there originally) failed and another one did not come in did is not known. Maybe some of us should have been involved in attracting more day care."

Still, Nytes allowed, "Without a doubt we need more restaurants and food service in that part of town. There are not many options (for dining). It is great somebody wants to start something. I encourage all sorts of entrepreneurial activity. I just had not thought of this location as a first place to go."

More to come in future posts from other council members. Meanwhile here's another perspective from a reader that made me laugh:

"Clearly all the zoning stuff that is coming to light is further proof that Peterson has utterly lost control of a once-disciplined administration. We're like Cook County, but without the character and charisma. Does this make Dan Carpenter our Mike Royko??? Wait, don't answer that..."

Contact me: ruth@ruthholladay.com

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