More Stimulus Success in Ohio
From The Cincinnati Enquirer:
Last July, Vice President Joe Biden stood in front of a hulking, five-story abandoned factory in Northside with good news: The federal government had approved $1.6 million in stimulus money to help transform the American Can Building into new stores and apartments.
The project would create 100 construction jobs – proof, Biden said, that the stimulus was putting people to work.
Seven months later, the project remains stalled, and has yet to make good on that promise.
The problem: While $1.6 million in federal money will help the developer clean up the site, the project still needs more than $4 million in private capital to get going, and so far, banks have been unwilling to lend it.[...]
City officials and the Obama Administration had a more optimistic view of the timeline.
“Once the private financing is in place, the project can begin almost immediately,” City Manager Milton R. Dohoney Jr. told City Council in a memo last May. “Construction would likely start in the summer of 2009.”
Mayor Mark Mallory, introducing Biden in Northside on July 8, called the project “a perfect investment” for stimulus money. It was “an opportunity to get a stalled project moving again,” Mallory said. “The investment of stimulus money into this project is going to make it a reality.”[...]
City officials thought those problems were in the past tense. Now, that date has been pushed back at least a year.
But the stimulus-funded work could begin sooner.
The stimulus money – funneled through a special round of community development block grants administered by the city – is earmarked for site-preparation work. So Bloomfield said he’d like to begin work on restoring the external masonry, paving the parking lot and hooking up utilities while he waits for the financing to make the rest of the project work.
“It’s a stimulus to the economy, but I hope it’s a stimulus to the lending as well,” he said.
As of last week, the developer and the city were still finalizing the agreement for the $1.6 million in stimulus. Once that happens, the first jobs could begin as soon as this month – “weather permitting,” Bloomfield said. Still, the work will create just a handful of the 100 jobs anticipated.
How many times do you think Joe Biden repeated this story throughout the country?