Fairhope’s, 6.2 million dollar waterfront park has been so watered down that it has become a renovation project. For over 18 months the Waterfront project moved through the bureaucracy of government. Hundreds of citizens participated in public meeting offering their suggestions. Then came the municipal elections and the political distortions about the overall plan. In as little as a few weeks, in the new administration, the entire plan went from something resilient and sustainable to short sighted maintenance.
It was Fairhope’s big lie and the believers in false facts and rumors, won out.
The lies were amplified by the newly elected council that is under the command of CATALYST/Scott Boone Consulting. Citizens have lost their voice to a political organization who directs the council and mayor. Jack Burrell, the great negotiator, is going to rob Fairhope from an opportunity to move forward on a project that would have benefited all the citizens of Fairhope.
Misconceptions about the waterfront project were published however the citizens chose to listen to rumors spread by politicos with their own agenda.
Howelling Raines gets the credit for the most outlandish lies. A part time resident of Fairhope, was recruited by the status quo to criticize the project. He perpetuated the false claim of “bulldozing the Bluff” and what a “grandiose disaster”, the whole project was. The council licked their lips with satisfaction, for every lie their mule told..
“Plan to bulldoze the historic park at the municipal pier”
Howlimg Rains was like a bad fart, nobody wanted to smell it so they just held their noses and hid.
The entire project has been gutted and all the previous public comments trashed. The swimming area was very popular in the first 18 months but that changed in 2 weeks. The jetty was also thrown out as well. The jetty had a multiple purpose’s, protection of the infrastructure and a recreation area for kids, canoes, and kayaks. The same jetty system most likely saved the Grand Hotel from flooding during the last two hurricanes.
There will be no improvements to protect the so called “bluffs”, instead the kudzu will be removed and
Native plants will be used to secure bank erosion. The wood stairs will only be brought up to minimum code. The winding or switchback ADA compliant access to the park, from the “bluff”, will be changed to a ADA ramp. The project has to remain ADA compliant however it appears it may be ADA UN-friendly.
ALL previous plans about sloping the “bluff”, not bulldozing, are erased from the plan. The bathrooms a viewing area or an amphitheater all have been eliminated. Parking will remain the same and more public space will NOT added.
I asked a senior member of the original waterfront plan what was left and he said nothing really, that it was a crying shame that politics and a very few people spoiled the entire project and did not make good use of the 6.2 million dollar grant. In the end you are going to have a “Redneck Renovation”. He said that he fears that projects like the Triangle, K-1 and the recreation lands will also have the same fate. Then he added, did you know these damn fools are planning on having Arts and Crafts because they believe Covid-19 will be over by march?
Yet another lie.
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