We have an important election coming up in New Brighton. We will elect the next mayor and 2 of the 4 seats on the City Council.
New Brighton is at a crossroads right now. The current leadership of the city has undertaken a huge development project that has gone badly awry. The Northwest Quadrant project has denuded a 1-mile stretch of Old Highway 8, from the 694 overpass up to Highway 96. When we first moved to New Brighton, this stretch was filled with a number of businesses, mostly industrial. They are now gone and the grand plans for redeveloping the area have fallen through. What you see when you travel Old Highway 8 today is largely a moonscape of fallow land.
As a citizen of New Brighton, I find the current situation problematic for many reasons. The businesses that were shooed away from the Old Highway 8 corridor were unsightly, but they contributed jobs and revenue to the city and those resources are no longer available. The land, which the City acquired through highly aggressive use of eminent domain, faces significant challenges before it can be redeveloped. And because the city fathers put all their eggs into this basket, other available monies for redevelopment elsewhere in the City are now tied up in order to service the debt on the undeveloped land.
It's been a boondoggle. So the question for the citizenry is this: ought we return the same individuals who chose this path for another term? And are you satisfied that they will do better next time?
My guess is that most people in New Brighton would recognize that things must change. But who are the people to bring about this change? That is the big question. And we will be looking at this question in the coming days.