[Vision2020] Important meeting at City Hall tomorrow morning

Darrell Keim keim153 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 25 13:36:57 PST 2015

OOOh.  Wish I could come!  That Gritman facility is much needed.  Lots of
work to be done on recovery for substance use disorders and mental health
issues in the area!  I hope attendance is good.

On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 1:13 PM, Rosemary Huskey <donaldrose at cpcinternet.com
> wrote:

> Visionaries:
> Tomorrow morning during a 7:00 a.m. Urban Renewal
> <http://moscowura.com/content/WYSIWYG/Agenda%2002-26-15.pdf> meeting at
> City Hall, Gary Reidner will announce the winner of the proposals for the
> Legacy Landing development at the corner of Sixth and Jackson.  The Daily
> News covered this story extensively this morning (Thank you Terri Harber)
> but I wanted to add some additional background.  I’ve spent the last week
> trying to get up to speed on the issues because the outcome has a profound
> effect on Moscow the surrounding area.
> Gritman Hospital, in collaboration with Latah Community Health (CHAS aka
> Community Heath Association of Spokane) proposes a building that will
> provide expanded health care services including dental and mental health
> (which are desperately needed) on a sliding fee schedule or at no cost for
> low income and uninsured citizens.  Gritman’s ethically grounded and
> beautifully designed facility which will serve unmet medical needs on the
> Palouse will also provide significant professional and skilled staff
> employment opportunities with commensurate wages.  It is positioned to
> become a model for communities throughout the Northwest, notwithstanding
> the rapidity with which it will become a valued member of the local
> business community. The Clinic plan includes a cooperative training and
> mentoring program with WAMI medical students at the University of Idaho.
> In competition, is a project proposed by the present partners of Sangria
> Grill, Carley Lilly and George Skandalos. Their three story building
> includes a restaurant / commercial space on the ground floor; 18 (300 sq.
> ft.) mini- apartments – which do not appear to be handicapped accessible (
> I hope that issue will be clarified tomorrow) on the second floor; and a
> roof top bar and raised bed planters on the top floor.  For the life of me,
> I can’t imagine how the oh so trendy mini-apartments in the over-crowed
> urban spaces of London, New York City, Seattle, and Portland found their
> way to Moscow, but it does not seem to fit any recognized demographic or
> commercial need.  Moscow is not an urban center, with limited housing
> opportunities. How eager would any of you be to live within a stone’s throw
> of the only North – South highway in Idaho, (gotta love those chip trucks)
> stacked above a restaurant / potential commercial space and wedged under a
> roof top bar?  This is a veritable Dagwood Sandwich of a building.  It
> seems silly to think for even a nanosecond that the mini-apartments will
> provide what is commonly known as “affordable housing.”   Nothing is sadder
> (or more transparent) than substituting  what I believe are the deeply held
> community values of caring for those in need of accessible medical, dental
> and mental health services in order to accommodate the elitist desire for
> another restaurant/ chic housing/ and a pretentious roof top bar (partially
> funded by local tax payers).
> According to URA guidelines:
> “Urban renewal and revenue allocation financing are the most significant
> tools available to Idaho communities for attracting and retaining
> businesses, generating economic development, promoting job creation and
> encouraging development of deteriorating and underutilized areas.”  Source
> <http://moscowura.com/content/WYSIWYG/AICUrbanRenewal101.pdf>
> If economic development and promoting job creation is a URA goal, how does
> a restaurant and bar fit that criterion?  Typically food service
> establishments are low wage (often below minimum wage) jobs with no
> benefits and high employee turnover. In this instance there may be limited
> job creation since an existing Sangria restaurant will simply be switching
> locations.  I suppose the tenement-like arrangement of mini-apartments is
> intended to generate additional income for investors.  But who knows what
> financial plans are pending since the Sangria proposal contains not a
> single word about financial issues. This absence represents a major
> oversight.  How seriously can proposal reviewers, let alone taxpayers, take
> a proposal that refused to include any information about funding
> expectations, private investor or financial institutional backing, or even
> expected financial support from taxpayers via the URA?  A slickly designed
> proposal is meaningless when it is composed of unverifiable fluff and pie
> in the sky thinking.  Why is all financial information absent? How did the
> failure to provide financial data escape the notice of Mr. Reidner and the
> review committee?  This lapse alone should have been a monstrous red flag.
> What will these proposals cost tax payers in URA funding?  The Gritman /
> CHAS proposal is clear.  They are paying market value for the land – and
> are not asking for any URA funding.  The Gritman /CHAS building will be
> ready for occupation in ten to twelve months – i.e., early 2016.  The
> Sangria proposal is a five year construction project with obviously long
> term traffic disruption on Highway 95 south and unsightly and intermittent
> construction at a busy community corner.
> The attraction of another restaurant amongst a veritable cluster of
> similar businesses offers little in the way of fresh, innovative uses of
> the land. Compared to the unique academic contributions offered by
> professional collaboration between the CHAS clinic and the UI WAMI program,
> which could reasonably be expected to bring long term benefits to the
> community and surrounding area, the Sangria proposal lacks both imagination
> and lasting connection to the community.   The CHAS clinic building will
> offer a permanent home for local blood drives which also reinforces the UI/
> community connection.  Students are strong supporters of blood drives and a
> dedicated space in a medical facility serves as another link between campus
> life and the larger world.  The number of professional providers and
> para-professional staff will enrich the local economy –  the old cliché “A
> rising tide raises all boats” is applicable in this competition.
> So, speaking of rising, please rise and shine early tomorrow morning to
> attend this meeting.  The outcome matters.
> Rose Huskey
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