October 29, 2009 2:31 PM
There should come a time in the debate on any major issue when the long-term best interests of the city as a whole need to take precedence over the parochial concerns of a small group of die-hard opponents. We've come to that point in the debate over the Edgewater Hotel improvements.
The developer of the Edgewater, Bob Dunn, has bent over backwards to meet the concerns of a small group of neighbors of the project in the Mansion Hill District. He's addressed their concerns related to parking, traffic, and public access to the new amenities the project will create. And as for their issues with the height of the new tower, he's lowered what was already a building that did not violate the Capitol view preservation limit, by three more stories.
There's no question that this project is in the best interests of the city as a whole. The project will create hundreds of badly needed construction jobs for workers in trades that have current unemployment rates of 25%. It will add a million dollars in new tax revenues each year. It will dramatically improve public access to Lake Mendota.
It should not be this hard for someone who wants to create jobs, add to our tax base, increase public access to the lake and revive a tired iconic property to get his project done. It's not that the opponents of this project didn't have some legitimate concerns. But those concerns have been more than adequately addressed. What remains now is unreasonable opposition from a slim minority that vows to use every tool at their disposal, including the courts, to block this project. In this long debate, it's time for reason to take hold.