Opinion

Blue skies, black roof

Thanks to a grant of clemency by the weather gods, we’ve been out Battle Point Park way a few times in the past week. Besides the abundant

blue (!) sky, others of like mind and leg may have noticed some activity around the old transmitter building inside the park’s front gate.

That would be refurbishment in progress – Mike Horishige has been slathering the building’s massive but heretofore tragically porous roof with a fresh coat of tar. Thanks to the generosity of Horishige and brother Jack – the work is being done at cost – the building (and by extension, the public) is getting $25,000 worth of roof for about $8,000, park director Terry Lande reports.

Meanwhile, Bill Nelson of Nelson Wood and Glass has been at work inside, volunteering his time to assist park district crews in replacing broken windows, while adding interior walls and insulation.

Reclaiming the historic building for community use – it has suffered years of neglect as a giant dumpster for park district detritus – has been a goal of Lande since he touched down on these shores last summer. A fund drive (more on that soon) is getting under way to complete the building, rendering it suitable for youth gymnastics and other community activities.

With park district finances, er, tight these days, the building probably wouldn’t be getting much attention yet had not the Horishiges and Bill Nelson stepped up to offer their time and talents. Anyone committed to park enhancement and historic preservation owes them some thanks.

Now if they have any ideas on how to get people to vote to keep the park gates open, we’d really have something.

End of the line

We’d be remiss if we let pass without some comment the selection this week of the 40-acre Vincent Road property as future site of the city’s decant operation.

The facility, where street sweepings, ditch spoils and

other assorted muck from city roadways will undergo

rudimentary processing before disposal elsewhere, had

outstayed its welcome at the Head of the Bay. In recent years, proposals to move it to Weaver Road and then New Brooklyn Road got chilly receptions from the denizens of those fine neighborhoods.

The whole affair made us think back to the Mobro 4000, the sad little garbage barge that in March 1987 set out under tow from New York City loaded with 3,200 tons of trash. Over the next seven months, the barge made what turned into a 6,000-mile journey up and down the Atlantic Coast, around the Gulf of Mexico, and through the Bahamas in search of an accommodating landfill. Turned away at every port of call – Mexico actually deployed naval vessels to keep it out of Yucatan – the barge sailed aimlessly until court challenges exhausted themselves and a disposal agreement was forged; after seven months, it wound up back in New York, where it was unloaded and the garbage incinerated.

While being turned away from three neighborhoods hardly matches the Mobro’s record – six states and three countries – the “decant drift” must set the new Bainbridge standard for NIMBY rejection.

So, hats off to the perseverance of the siting committee,

for the thoroughness of their work and for finding a location that enjoys the most important quality of all: No neighbors.

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