MCU says planner should have been selected for mall redevelopment

To the editor:

The two citizens’ rallies outside of Crest-wood City Hall last summer have clearly touched a nerve with some in local media and with Mayor Jeff Schlink.

Reference to them has appeared at least twice in the Call, and the mayor brought them up again at the mayoral candidates’ forum on March 20. Sadly, he believes his constituency was “duped” into participation when, in fact, it was a group of Crestwood residents that approached Metropolitan Congregations United, or MCU, for help to convey dissatisfaction with the impasse that was taking place on board votes with regard to selection of a planner.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a Crestwood congregation, has an MCU core team, and several members of that core team were willing to help.

The mayor claims he had to rebuild re-lationships with the owners and prospective buyers after the two rallies. Since the rallies were directed toward the mayor and board of aldermen, it was not the developers who were upset with the two rallies, but the mayor and the board whose inaction was spotlighted.

As incorrectly implied in the Call, MCU has never taken a position on the merits of Centrum’s development plan, having heard John Brancaglione’s pros and cons in his preliminary report to the board.

However, MCU — and the residents who led the rally — do believe a planner should have been selected to assist the city in the complicated redevelopment process. Also believed is that the deadlocked votes and dragged out proceedings could have been averted if the mayor had cast his vote one way or the other to select or deny a planner.

While Robert’s Rules allow him to hold off breaking a tie when major issues are at stake, believing that Centrum was immovable in changing its plans, and the fact that he and the board were limited to a 15-percent tax-increment financing rate on the cost of any project — well below what Centrum requested — he had legitimate grounds to cast a vote to break the tie and end the impasse, but he didn’t. Why not?

Mary Chubb

Sunset Hills

Metropolitan Congregations United