By John Hubbuch
Last week's story on the Colt Building was just the latest chapter in the lengthy story of the Colt Building. The story is an old one. Not so old that many of the developers, Village officials and elected leaders aren't still around, but they ain't talking. Everyone involved in this debacle wants to blame the failure to develop the property on the great economoc collapse in 2008, but I know better.
The reality of course is that if acrimonius local politics hadn't delayed construction, the project would have been almost certainly funded and completed before the economy went off the rails. The failure of our elected leaders to come together on this was costly. I'm sure some one could calculate the lost revenue, property and sales taxes, employment and all the other stuff that comes from a big development in the heart of a downtown, but like I said ain't nobody talkin.
If I were to guess I would say the failure to get the project done before the storm was due to the long-standing battle between preservationists and economic developers. Recall that the Colt Building had some arguable historic significance, and as a result precious time was lost fooling around on trying to save or renovate it. Another possible explanation is the animus between a split board who couldn't stand each other personally. It took several election cycles to resolve the animus, but by then it was too late.
This fiasco illustrates why local elections are so much more important than state and federal elections. A shift of a thousand votes can impact millions of dollars. The story of the Colt Building would be a cautionary tale for the Village's future, if only those who know the story would tell it . Confession is good for the soul.
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