Friday, October 19, 2012

North Bay and the Furgary

There were eight items on the agenda for last night's Common Council Economic Development Committee meeting, and the first was "North Bay Development, Specific suggestions for the reconfiguration for public use of the Furgary property." At the beginning of the meeting, Common Council president Don Moore, who chairs the committee, stated that a plan for the Furgary site "needs a planning group to unearth the history and determine which buildings should be saved." After half an hour of discussion, Moore returned to the idea of a planning group and explained that what he envisioned was "five to seven people to sit down and discuss what could be done."

During the intervening discussion, committee member Cappy Pierro (Fifth Ward) suggested that the City "should offer people the opportunity to claim the shacks and take them out of there." Moore and committee member John Friedman (Third Ward), however, expressed interest in keeping a "handful--two, three, four buildings" in place to be adaptively reused.  Moore called this "a sound way to proceed." Regarding the rest of the shacks, Moore said, "As far as the City is concerned, we will have to take down the shacks because they will be a liability." Pierro cautioned that "the City is not in a position to spend any money down there."

The committee expressed some concern about the cabins' ability to survive the winter. At one point, Furgarian Dennis Malloy volunteered the Furgarians to "shore up the cabins so they can make it through the winter." Pointing out that they knew what needed to be done, he said they would be willing to do it at no cost to the City. This led Friedman to suggest that there might be a way to "work out some kind of stewardship agreement" with the North Dock Tin Boat Association. This led to talk of insurance and liability, with Pierro making the point that "the City is still liable unless we designate it park land." Pierro's statement raises the question, which was not raised last night, of why the City is not talking about designating the 14-acre Furgary site as park land.

Although the last thing said about North Bay before moving on to the next agenda item had to do with a planning committee, nothing was determined about how and when such a committee would be formed. Timothy O'Connor, however, who presumably was speaking for the Furgarians when he said, "We want a seat at the table," was assured by Moore that they would.

1 comment:

  1. The Furgarians had invited me to speak for them last night, and I believe I identified myself as a Furgarian. I consider this a privilege and an honor.

    That's an excellent question as to when the city will commit the Furgary site into "parkland."

    However, the "North Dock Tin Boat Association" may be defunct.

    When Dennis Malloy recommended that the city allow the Furgarians to shore up the site for winter, and to do so under the city's supervision, Alderman Friedman asked Mr. Malloy (and only Mr. Malloy) whether the suggestion was being made by "a corporation"?

    Mr. Malloy's answer was, "No, we're just a group of guys now."

    Because I respect Mr. Friedman's reason for asking and also noted that he seemed satisfied with the reply, there may be some importance in clarifying the Gossips account on this one point.