Saturday, March 31, 2007

All Aboard The Gravy Train

Next stop, Little Falls!

The Little Falls Common Council will vote Tuesday about applying for a grant through the state Office for Small Cities. The city can apply for up to $650,000 for the waterfront revitalization project, which could cost up to about $1 million and create about 10 jobs, said David Carlson of Carlson Associates.

The project would improve the appearances of areas surrounding the Little Falls Canal Harbor and the Canal Place for tourists who visit the city, Mayor Ted Wind said.

"It's going to make it real attractive over there," Wind said.

Hey, that sounds great! What kind of public improvement projects are they going to fund? A full on landscaping project for the public park areas? New street lighting? Themed signage?

•At least four housing rehabilitation projects by the Little Falls Canal Harbor on Southern Avenue. taxpayer dollars are going to pay for the "Extreme Makeover" treatment at four private homes? Huh?

•Facade improvements for the Little Falls Lumber Co., which also is located on Southern Avenue.

I'm sure the owners of Little Falls Lumber are great folks, but you would think they of all people would be able to handle fixing up their property with their own money. Why are public funds being used to for this?

•Establishing an inn with nine guest rooms on the third floor of the Stone Mill of Little Falls building. The four-story building already is home to several small businesses. A conference center also would be added.

Seriously, WTF? I'd love to own a tasteful little inn with a conference center too, but there's no reason the government has to pay for it. Maybe they can host business conferences on how to have your buddies in local government pay for your business expansion under the guise of "tourism improvements".

•The creation of a seasonal Adirondack-style ice cream shop on a currently vacant lot at 55 W. Mill St. how is this going to work?

Chris Connolly, owner of the vacant lot at 55 W. Mill St., hopes to open an ice cream shop in a building with a style that combines old canal buildings with an Adirondack feel, he said.

The shop might be named Old Sal's Ice Cream after the mule Sal from the Erie Canal song, Connolly said.

Connolly has been working on the project for three years and bought the lot near the Little Falls Canal Harbor and the Canal Place four years ago.

"That section of town I really think is taking off," he said.

Let me make sure I have this straight-

1. Buy vacant lot.
2. Have government pay me to build ice cream shop.
3. Profit!

It's admirable that Little Falls wants to develop the canal area, but none of these are public improvement projects. Every one of them should be paid for with private funds. Heck, if they really want to boost tourism you know what they could do? Build me a castle. I've always wanted a castle, with a real moat and gatehouses and those nifty little murder holes you can use to stab attacking soldier with spears. Just imagine how many tourists will come to see something like that!