Friday, March 09, 2007

Pipe Dreams Versus Infrastructural Reality

Here’s an image of the parking lot for the new hotel down by the lake. As you can see it hasn’t been plowed clear of snow. Why is that? Look in the background. See the hotel? You don’t?

The city of Plattsburgh is facing a budget crisis. But what else would you expect when the city buys into a project that may never materialize or just turns out to be a white elephant (e.g., the Crete Center)?

So it goes ahead and builds a parking lot for a non-existent hotel. “Build it and they will come.” That works in the movies, but not in real life.

And while the area near the lake does look better – it was overdue for a clean-up – why would someone want to build a hotel-conference center right next to Fecal Bouquet, Inc. (AKA the city sewage treatment plant)?

Now consider this image: a crumbling step at the main entrance to the public library. For too many years these steps have been patched up, gouges filled in with a special compound that can’t hold up to the weather and the foot traffic. Every year the city slaps down some compound and it falls apart before winter is over. Obviously this entrance has to be rebuilt. But that’s infrastructure, not a pipe dream.

Maybe someone will come to town and convince the Burghers that money can be made if the city builds a UFO landing pad. Time passes, the library steps disintegrate into dust, but at least there’s the spanking new Plattsburgh Intergalactic Spaceport. Of course, no aliens have shown up yet. But just give it some time…

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