Our View: Front Porch cooperation can still fall apart?Two days before New Richmond’s Front Porch Project was unveiled on the international stage, locals showed more work remains to be done.
Two days before New Richmond’s Front Porch Project was unveiled on the international stage, locals showed more work remains to be done.
Front Porch consultant Patrick Overton and a handful of local leaders are in Ottawa, Canada this week to show the world what is happening locally.
As part of the 2008 Creative Construct International Symposium, Overton’s Wednesday presentation was intended to showcase the newfound cooperative atmosphere around New Richmond these days.
A key component of the Front Porch Project’s success has been the civil conversations City, township and county officials have been having. The goal has been to cooperatively work on issues in an effort to find solutions that are agreeable to all.
It’s gone remarkably well, until Monday.
That’s when New Richmond’s City Council took the Richmond Town Board to task for its recent decision on the 140th Street project.
City officials were angered by the Town’s unwillingness to approve deferred assessments on property that could financially benefit from improved roads and proposed water extension to the area.
City officials say they had a handshake deal in the matter, and that the Town officials weren’t holding up their end of the bargain.
For their part, Town officials claim the City is to blame for the breakdown in the agreement. Several agreed-upon items were left out of the final paperwork, so they decided to pass.
It wasn’t the perfect picture of harmony and unity that Overton and others had hoped to see.
Some might see the political battle as an indictment of the process the community has walked through over the past couple years.
But does it mean that the Front Porch Project’s work has all been for naught?
How the community (both City and Township residents and officials) reacts over the coming days will tell.
Clearly, something needs to be done in a hurry to improve vehicular and pedestrian safety along 140th Street and Paperjack Drive. It would be a shame if improvements aren’t completed in time for the start of school in the fall.
What will it take? Cool heads and a spirit of “we’re all in this together” would go a long way toward bringing an agreement.
Such cooperation is, afterall, what we agreed to promote when we signed on to rebuild our community’s Front Porch.