Some people are wondering how the Waterfront Development Corporation could possibly plan to spend $2 million on computerized lighting for the Big Four Bridge. They ask how we can afford that when we can’t even fix all the potholes that seem to be everywhere on our downtown streets.
But this isn’t a case of city government making a bad decision about how to allocate tax dollars. It’s just a case of the Waterfront Corporation’s head fundraiser, Marlene Grissom, doing the job she was hired to do.
Because of her efforts, most of the financing has been pledged by various foundations, corporations and individuals, including Ms. Grissom and her husband, who pledged $100,000.
Because most of this money was donated for a specific purpose, virtually none of it could be diverted instead to road repairs.
But ... that still leaves us with miles and miles of city streets that are crumbling before our eyes. If the city funds really aren’t there to bring them up to standard, might there be other corporations and foundations that might find it worthwhile to donate to that effort? Smooth, safe streets may not be as hip and sexy as bridge lights, but I think they’d make an even greater contribution to the quality of living in this city.
Maybe I’m dreaming. But if existing tax revenues are insufficient to keep our infrastructure from rotting, we may have no other choice than to also resort to private fund-raising.