Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mayor Robinson-Briggs displays edifice envy in desire to buy YWCA

The Plainfield YWCA in the 1920s. (Image courtesy of Nellie Dixon)

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has a surprise bond ordinance on tonight's Council agenda (Bond ordinance #1248), proposing that the City bond $5.5 million for the purchase of 'real property'.

Turns out the 'real property' in question is the historic YWCA building on East Front Street.

While it is not widely known that the YWCA is in very difficult financial straits, it certainly will be as a result of the mayor's initiative this evening.

The Robinson-Briggs administration is likely to face some sharp questions tonight concerning the proposal, some of which might include --
  • Why, in an era of shrinking government and fiscal difficulties, would the city BUY a building?

  • How was a value arrived at without having several independent appraisals done to arrive at a more or less 'professional' opinion?

  • What would the building be used for?

  • What would be the cost of engineering and feasibility studies for any proposed uses?

  • What would be the cost of renovations?

  • What would be the ongoing impact on the city budget of having another building to staff, heat, maintain and insure?
That's just for openers.

This is not Her Honor's first venture in edifice envy -- a few years ago, when the YMCA was in desperate shape, she wanted to buy it, too.

That talk has died down since Ravenell Williams has come on board.

Stay tuned.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I thought the City was going to buy the Armory on East 7th Street ??? Might as well have all the energy eating building in town owned by the gov't.

Dan said...

But the Armory deal would have been for $1 -- no need to bleed the taxpayers for $5.5 million there....

Alan Goldstein said...

It doesn't seem right to lay people off and then become a big antiques collector.