Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mayor Vaughan On The Florida Street Extension

As a followup to my article The Ghost of Florida Street Returns I e-mailed Councilwoman Sharon Hightower with my concerns for 3 reasons: 1. She represents that district. 2. Part of her 2013 platform was the elimination of the Florida Street Extension and 3. Despite the fact that I have beat her up many times in these online threads she has never been afraid of taking me on come next time around. A voter cannot help but admire that in an elected represenative. The follow is Councilwoman Hightower's reply:

"Billy, the project may still be listed as part of transportation projects and has not been deleted. But Florida Street is off the table for the City.   I have not heard Mayor Vaughan say anything out loud about Florida St. I'm almost certain Jamal would be against it because of his alumni status.

Adam Fischer:  Confirm for me that Florida St. money has been moved to Lee St. sidewalks.  Also delete the project from the list.. Inform me when A&T contacts the City about this road.

Sharon Hightower"

That's an honest answer. Remember, Sharon isn't on the transportation committee so she only hears what she's told. She had included Adam Fisher and others from the Greensboro Planning Department in her e-mail to me. I added in a return e-mail:

"And Adam, send me a hyperlink to the updated list as proof that the project is officially dead so that I may update my post for my readers.
Also, I would like to get copies of the blueprints for the bridge plans crossing the North Carolina Railroad tracks at Franklin Blvd. I'm sure the City Planning Department has something.

 Then Mayor Vaughan chimed in:

"Sharon, i'm not sure what Billy's getting at. Strangely the link he provided to the minutes of last years MPO meeting proves what we've been saying all along. (Maybe he has his years mixed up. As you know, it is 2015 not 2014).  

The project was cancelled and the funding was moved to other projects. The link contain minutes of the August 27,2014 meeting showing that the project was killed AND that I asked for your specific input on how those funds should be spent. (See top of page 5). 

It also contains the September 24, 2014 meeting agenda. On page 13 you see the action item eliminating The Florida Street extension and and adding the sidewalk project. And, On page 15 you see the removal Florida Street Ext from the official "Existing Projects" list. 

I've included Marikay and Jamal on this email since they serve on the MPO. 

BTW, there was no public discussion Thursday regarding this road project. I spoke to a few in attendance and they didn't know what I was talking about. If there had been a public discussion Marikay. would've been able to set the record straight.

Sorry for this distraction,

Mayor Vaughan would like you to think I'm merely a distraction but here is the truth: City Council has yet to pass a resolution ending their efforts to build the Florida Street Extension across the NC A&T farm. Why not? Because as a whole Council still wants to build the Florida Street Extension. Once a road is completed across the farm it's value as a farm begins to quickly fall just as every farm falls in farming value once divided but it's value as a commercial property will quickly increase 10 times, perhaps 100 times its current real estate value. A cash strapped university would have a very difficult time saying no to selling off valuable commercial properties.

Marikay also chimed in:

"The Mayor is correct...Isa and I were both in attendance at last Thursday's meeting.  Neither of us recall any discussion concerning the Florida Street extension being brought back up.  The presentation by the NC State Extension Service was solely concerning the possibility of bringing a research project about Aquaponics - which, by the way, is an exciting project.  


I couldn't figure out what the Mayor was talking about. Meeting Thursday? I knew nothing about a meeting on Thursday. And the documents I linked to? They were titled II Recommendations, and another titled Florida Street Extension, there were no meeting minutes included in the documents I linked to so I started opening up the links included in the document: ents/GDOT/divisions/plannin g/metro/projectsandstudies/ hprdjamestownbypass.htm

Well as you can see, none of the links provided meeting minutes and most were not relevant to the Florida Street Extension. It's as if Mayor Vaughan can say anything she wants to say and it becomes truth because Mayor Vaughan said it.

I replied back to Madam Mayor:

"No Madam Mayor, I am not confused about the dates, I was unable to locate any documentation to indicate the Florida Street Extension is PERMANENTLY off the books.

Perhaps Madam Mayor can provide documentation to prove her statements-- something I can show to my readers.
Thanks -Billy Jones"
Again, until the Mayor mentioned it I didn't know there had been a meeting on Thursday-- I'm working off an entirely different premise that goes back much longer but thanks for bringing it up. Those assumptions get you in a world of trouble-- that's why I don't make assumptions.

Will we finally see a resolution brought before the Greensboro City Council to kill the Florida Street Extension once and for all? Or will they continue to hide behind words while working for rich developers in an effort to push the working class out of Greensboro?

I guess we all know the answer to those questions as long as the current council remains seated.