Riverfront Transparency

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

I just read the stories in Chattanoogan and the Times Free Press on city Council’s non-vote on Riverfront Nights Administrative Selection. From reading the Times Free Press Story, I see that all entities have done a poor job. Discussion should have been tabled until all parties represented could be witness to their prior discussions. I do see once again the Berke Administration shows the inability to work in a timely manner with businesses of the city and citizens who interact with the administration. I’d add my own frustrations, but that would digress. 

An incident that happened a while ago does come to mind though. When discussion was underway for replacement of an industrial waterfront with one conducive to an interactive city, this is what happened. Several hundred people came to be a part. We were divided into groups of 12 to 15 or so around round tables to brainstorm for a period and arrive at coherent group consensus. I noticed that every table had one to two members of Friends of the Festival to make sure their thoughts were heard. Their strategy was well placed, the current Riverfront lends itself well to group participation. While I do not go to Riverbend, I have worked Head of the Hooch on the Water and on shore and the location works well as built out. That is one person’s perspective. 

Another story I heard was on local talk radio. A man attending the Indianapolis 500 asked a food vendor why he no longer came to Riverbend. The vendor replied he could not afford fees that required food sale costs to be outrageous. So somewhere in the middle of this is a balance. The big dog that wants to rule the riverfront and the small one that may have less dogs in the fight. I have worked on the river here as I have on other waterways in this country. I hold mariner’s licenses and see how waterfronts are administered in other places. What I see here is close to a fiefdom, where one entity rules and others, by whatever means necessary, are pushed away. Here I see a case in point.

Prentice Hicks



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