LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Infrastructure important to Buchanan community

Published 2:09 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Patting infrastructure on a “not important” list has consequences for a community. For example, your May 18 article “Buchanan commissioners talk infrastructure projects,” reveals Buchanan has hired an Indiana engineering firm to study the collapsed retaining wall on Front Street hill across from the American Legion.

This area is the gateway into the city from Niles and the bypass, yet it has been closed off for 4-6 years, depending on who you talk to. Nothing has been done about it during the years Mayor Denison has been a commissioner. Now it will cost $17,500 for a preliminary topological survey, soil investigation, computer drawings and a project cost estimate.

During Denison’s tenure, many other projects have been on the back burner, abandoned buildings such as the Old Feed Mill and the sinkhole finally getting attention as the Days Avenue Project. Costs for “fixing” the sinkhole at The Common range from $900,000 to $1.1 million. The Commission has chosen the least expensive option, using steel sheet piles to stabilize the culvert near The Common and adjacent library. Is this a bandage that will require more work down the road?

The city manager was quoted in the article as saying he is exploring use of $8 million in city investment funds to pay the cost, surely much higher than they would have been 3 to 5 years ago – before current inflation and the expansion of the sinkhole area. Will there be penalties for pulling our funds out early?

Would the current focus on neglected projects even have happened without the pressure and success of the Recall Denison Commission? The answer is clear. No.

By Scott King,