Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bahama Village

The big ferment in Bahama Village, as reported in the newspaper is the plan to build a music venue in the waterfront park that is taking shape next door to Bahama Village. The amphitheater planned for Truman Waterfront is the cause of much annoyance. 
Truman Waterfront is under the knife these days and there is no access to the open space anymore. There are paths for cars to travel through between fences and there is access to the Ingham floating museum, but the open space as we knew it has gone. Now the city is waiting to see what will reappear on the 34 acres of land deeded to the city after the Navy declared it surplus and withdrew.
For some reason I cannot fathom, crony capitalism I dare say, the city entrusted plans for the park to the rapacious Spottswood family to design. That may sound like an exaggeration but it isn't. The developers decided to build a marina and use the  revenue from that to pay themselves a fee for managing the property for the city.
Happily the Navy killed that plan telling the city there is no room for marinas in the Navy Basin which the Navy shares with the city on a case-by-case basis (sailboat or  powerboat races typically) but the Navy objected to a moored fleet of private craft in their waters. Exit the marina plan.
Nevertheless the air hanging over the project is redolent of the serving oneself mentality of the worst of government though I'm not sure that's accurate. The thing is the plan to build a marina to make money has created a stigma for the amphitheater which is now viewed by skeptics as the source for money to be made from the park. 
Mayor Cates, the man responsible for the rather well done new City Hall on White Street was vehement in the newspaper arguing that the park will be designed as a public facility not as a profit-making proposition. The citizens are revolting all the same...The question now is how do the narrow lanes of Bahama  Village cope with the flood of cars that will go and come through here to get to the waterfront concert? And secondly how much noise will be created by the amphitheater? 
The architects say it will not produce much noise as it will be designed to deflect the  sound away from the residents. But the anger is there and simmering and the comments in the paper spell mistrust loud and clear.
I suppose it's too much to expect a 34 acre paradise on the waterfront but still I wonder how concertgoers will drive to and from the corner of the island. 
Perhaps it's all a storm in a  teacup. We could hope that the venue will attract talent and perhaps the architects are right and noise won't be deafening. Perhaps all it takes is a little trust.
Trust is a difficult commodity to come by these days and people would rather not trust and not verify. 
So the Truman Waterfront will devolve into a shouting match and we shall have to wait and see what happens.
I don't live in Bahama Village so I am not affected. If I did live there I too would be apprehensive about these issues of noise and traffic. All I know at this point is that I already miss the unregulated wide open grassy spaces that have been torn up ready for cement. I knew it was coming of course but that doesn't alter the fact its not a change I much appreciate one way or the other. 
Much better to have a  field than an amphitheater. Try telling them that.