From Robert Vitale in The Dispatch:
People will gather near its one-of-a-kind arch, tilted 10 degrees north up the Scioto River like a jump rope on a perpetual downswing. They’ll hold festivals on its separate pedestrian deck – a “balcony for the city” in the words of bridge designer Spiro Pollalis – or they’ll just take a walk there and admire the skyline.
They won’t remember that the bridge was finished more than four years late at triple the cost projected when Coleman first picked the design. What started as a $19.5 million bridge will end up consuming $60.1 million in federal, state and local tax dollars by the time it opens this week.
Coleman has an answer to those who say it’s too expensive or took too long: “I imagine they said the same thing about the Brooklyn Bridge.”
Did we just buy the Brooklyn Bridge?
In 1995, the old Main Street bridge was crumbling. The concrete structure finished in 1937 was at the end of its life, engineers told the City Council at the time, and it was time to replace it or repair it. They said the bridge could be replaced for $9 million, despite the fact that a new, no-frills Broad Street bridge just up the river had cost $13.2 million just a few years earlier. In 2001, the city hired engineering firm DLZ, of Columbus, to begin plans for a new Main Street bridge. The mayor reached out to Pollalis, who was designing sweeping arched bridges in Europe, and asked the engineering firm to bring him on as a subcontractor.
A professor of design, technology and management at the Harvard School of Design, Pollalis had written a book called What Is a Bridge? In it, he argued that bridges can be more than a means to cross a river. They can provide a focal point for economic development. They can draw people to a place and help them enjoy it. They can be art.
So a pretty bridge encourages economic activity and growth…. got that?
Will this bridge stimulus will offset the damage done to Columbus’ economy after the 2009 25% city income tax increase, which was supported by unfortunately supported by a short-sighted business community?
I often wonder how this city would survive the wrath of corrupt, bit-city Democrats if state government and The Ohio State University weren’t here.
Coleman commented from a trip to Athens, Greece that “Nobody thinks today what the Parthenon cost.” Venereal diseases have really taken their toll on Mike’s brain.