Thursday, April 24, 2008
Mayor’s Night Out with Pike Township residents occurred on April 22nd at the Guion Creek Middle School. A decent sized crowd turned out to listen to the mayor and his top department personnel answer questions that were written by the residents on provided forms and read to the mayor by Susan Blair, PTRA President. The event was strictly limited to the one hour allotted so not a whole lot of questions were addressed. The subjects most represented in the questions were pot holes and when various roads will be resurfaced, particularly 38th Street. Other questions concerned the brain drain, consolidating city government, and why can’t a person victimized by credit card theft get a copy of the store’s surveillance picture, to which Scott Newman said it is probably just law enforcement habit not to give out evidence but he thought there is no law against it. The mayor spent a large amount of time answering about his desire to increase Indianapolis’s international image and connections. He says the city is falling behind and losing trade possibilities, all which can be corrected by expanding the sister city program (Indpls currently has four sister cities).
Joe Wynns, Director of Indy Parks Department, fielded the question about the “failure of the Lilly Lake Dam” at Eagle Creek Park. Wynns sounded exasperated as he accentuated the fact that the dam, which is at 56th Street and creates the reservoir, did not fail. He explained the draining of Lilly Lake was an accident due to the “spill well”, which has been known for a while to be in need of repair due to a decayed pipe under the road, giving way. Wynns said the repair of the “spill well” is estimated to cost $200,000 and that money is hard to justify since there are so many other park projects in need, but his department is getting estimates on the replacement of the decayed pipe (apparently to satisfy the outcry over the draining of Lilly Lake incident). Wynns finished his speech by saying there was no emergency, Lilly Lake refilled in a couple days after the incident, and it is holding water indicating there is no leak. In the meantime, the Parks Department will continue to keep the water level of Lilly Lake three feet below the “spill well”. In a curious final statement on this subject, Mayor Ballard quipped that he hadn’t heard of a “spill well”. (Me either; I thought we had “spill ways”.)
The director of DPW answered a couple of questions related to areas with drainage problems (areas around 56th Street and Kessler Blvd were mentioned). This subject provided opportunity for the director and the mayor to claim great savings are being found through “value engineering” and the current administration is finding and reducing great amounts of excess and waste by the former administration. In so doing, the city is saying many more projects will be accomplished than formerly planned.
Two of the last questions to the mayor concerned the status of the Pike Youth Soccer indoor facility planning at Reed Road and the potential to rename Michigan Road to the Hamilton County line as Martin Luther King Junior Drive. Regarding soccer, the mayor said he just learned that very day about the potential facility. As to the street renaming, he stated he understands the costs involved to existing businesses; otherwise, he hasn’t thought about the issue, and then he said he has no position on the renaming.
Perhaps for TP, the best part of the Mayor’s Night Out was what happened prior to the event when HOA presidents or representatives within Pike Township were invited to accompany the deputy mayor on a tour of parts of the township. Steve Jones, TPAN President, represented us. The tour group visited the TP Organic Creamery, heard something regarding our concerns for the Ropkey-Beeler properties, and drove by the Shanghai Road location next to Intech Park where a recent Metropolitan Development Commission decision is very dismaying in that it approved another road to enter Shanghai in violation of a 1998 commitment put on the original development of Intech Park. (For the time being, the recent MDC decision may be moot because the developer (Browning) has decided the market is too soft and is trying to sell its purchase option to Lauth, the original developer of Intech Park). At any rate, we hope awareness of TP issues, especially preservation of rural, low density development, were put on the city administration’s radar.
One of the questions during the Q&A was what is the mayor doing about all the roadside litter. He agreed it’s bad. Mayor Ballard mentioned that Saturday, April 26th is a nationwide day of litter clean up, and he encouraged all Indianapolis residents to participate. The TPAN request for volunteers to help in an organized TP-wide litter clean up hasn’t produced many helpers. There has been one potential offer of a scout troop making this a project with us. Come on, folks, if these kids can help, then it seems the rest of us can also.
Earth Day, Arbor Day, Spring Cleaning, and the like are all converging this week. Here’s a bit of essential information connected to a recent national news article about the fact that drinking water supplies everywhere are being found to have remnant amounts of pharmaceuticals. Wastewater treatment plants don’t have the capabilities to treat and remove such components and neither do septic systems. The suggested manner of disposing of unwanted prescription drugs used to be to flush them down the toilet, but that is now known to be ill-advised. The new advice on disposal is to take left over or unwanted prescriptions to collection facilities, which are becoming more commonplace. Ask your pharmacist for collection capabilities when you receive a prescription. There is an upcoming opportunity on April 26th at Earth Day celebrations in downtown Indianapolis to clean out your medicine chest of old prescriptions and dispose of them properly. See the attachments.