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This paternalism is insulting. I think city officials are exploring loopholes, abundant in the system whether by design or neglect. It seems that many of the city bureaucrats hold on to their sits in a hope nobody would notice their ineptitude. It is difficult to find who is doing what and why. There is an habitual environment of irresponsibility, brought by lack of accountability. Naturally – many are defensive, and they hope no-one will notice.
I believe both ISU and Union do pay PILOT fees in Terre Haute.
Thank you for your comment, Mr. Fred Nation. I noticed there is more comments on this topic on Sardonic Spectator Facebook page. Someone noted “This was brought up at budget meetings. ISU pays 109,000 since 2007 with 1% increases. Union doesn’t pay anything. Rose Hulman pays $39,000 starting in 2017.” We do pretty exhaustive research, and it is difficult to come by complete budget records. There is significant amount of “digging”, to assemble any comprehensive picture. It begs a question, why this information is not readily available, when it would almost be easier to post it clearly on appropriate governmental sites. If it possible, it will be very helpful if anybody cam provide real resources, other then word-of-the-mouth.
The sense that I’ve gotten the few times I’ve strolled through Gilbert Park this summer is that it’s become “their/our territory”. It’s not a good vibe if I may use such a ridiculous word. To Shelly, if compassion is an overriding priority, would it be o.k. if they came and showered at your house?
Now there has been a molesting within a half-mile or so of Gilbert Park, it is reported.
In an inspired and valiant effort to suppress crime in the area, the city removed the benches from the park. Apparently that has not worked. There was still a molestation blocks away. It is time to ramp up the effort.
Now it is time to tear down the picnic shelters. Surely that will work. If not that, the mayor can sell the park to Eric Turner to build a nursing home there, like he did with Memorial Park. Or give it to the school corporation to build a squash and badminton facility, like the Tanoos Puddle Aquatic Center. There is no longer any crime in the Voorhees Park neighborhood. Well, maybe excepting something that might turn up in the FBI investigation of VCSC, rumored to have something to do with the shenanigans associated with the Aquatic Center, which in a manner of speaking is a crime in itself.
The beat goes on.
You’re writing was a step in the right direction. Everyone in a town deserves to have a park, and a bench. Desiderata is right–the people that use Gilbert Park have the right to be treated be here, and to be treated like human beings. Someone posted on Facebook that homeless people sleep there (the scourge). I say, great–they’re not sleeping on the ground! There will always be homeless people. Let’s not always attribute homelessness and poverty-stricken with drug abuse and alcoholism.
While driving around St. Petersburg, Florida a few years ago, it became apparent that they have a lot of homeless folks. The grass and bushes were tamped and matted, I asked my son and he confirmed my thought that some homeless folks had been sleeping there.
I’d rather see them on benches.
Let’s put the benches back in Gilbert park and add more. Easy. My life is worth the same amount to God as these homeless folks.’
Let’s set up port-a-potties and showers too. Now THAT would be humane!
” The price of freedom is . . . I admire the artistic synergy of language & image.
This is part of the reason I will be happy to move away from here shortly. I have lived here 60 years and it just continues to deteriorate. There are a few things going on but it mostly centers around ISU.
The train has always been a focal point of the park and its popularity has stood the test of time so it is with sadness I hear this news other disppointing news bout Deming Park. Its a place I spent half of my childhood enjoying.
No City Park makes money. That is not what they are there for. How much money does Deming, Dobbs, Collett, etc. bring in. Now how much do they cost. That’s what i’m trying to get at. The courses do bring in money, but no City Park makes money.
Jeri Driskill Reply
Right. They are there for the community to use. Yes, the golf courses bring in money, but not nearly as much as is put into them.. If the city would put as much into city pools as they do the golf courses, everyone would be happy…not just golfers.
This seems so typical of Terre Haute. It was a sad, tired town when I was at ISU in the 80’s and when I moved back here last year, it was still the same, tired and sad. My grandparents owned the Pittsburgh Paint store on Locust back in the 60’s and it was old, sad, and tired then too. No cheeriness or hopefulness anywhere.
The golf courses are not losing money. They are the only parks that bring in money. What they bring in is then doled out to the other parks. Why people can’t see that is beyond me.
Documents on the city website show three separate budget lines: Parks and Recreation, Rea Park and Hulman Links. Each of these includes separate receipts. Those not associated with the golf courses would include rental fees for the shelters or the pool, fees for Torner classes, daily pool use, and so on. For example, these receipts for 2014 were $423,848. In comparison, Rea Park receipts were $550,000 and for Hulman Links $440,000. During that same year, the budget approved for Rea Park was $677,724 and for Hulman Links, $891,000. These figures seem to indicate that the golf courses are not paying for themselves.
I admit I do not know a lot about this, but it has been said that the pool was costing the city money to operate. But isn’t it true the city golf courses have been operating at a loss for quite some time? So why do we decide to keep the golf courses at city expense and have to rely on public donations to open the pool?
This is a reasonable question! Are the golf courses more prestigious? More amenable to corporate use? A potentially profitable piece of the public park system if leased to a private enterprise? We suggest you attend the next TH Parks Board meeting (August 17th; 4:30 at Torner Center in Deming Park) and ask how the priorities are determined. They have to allow for public questions at the end of regular business. Also, keep an eye on the new Terre Haute Competes organization because it sounds as if they are strongly representing business interests more so than local kids who want to cool off.
I’m trying to locate a picture of the building at 507 1/2 Wabash(apparently a parking lot now) This was the address of my GG Grandfather(Austin Sweet Jr.) Law Firm. He was murdered by Constable John Vanhook on April 11, 1929. Great pictures
You might contact the Vigo County Library or the Vigo County Historical Society. Both have collections of old photos. The reference collection at the library has old newspapers on microfilm that might include articles on the murder, and the staff there is very helpful.
Daralea Smith Reply
I, too am searching for a picture of this building! The father Austin and Mary Ellen Johnson Sweet would have been my great grandparents. My grandmother was Martha Sweet Harlow. I was wondering if you ever discovered a picture?
Also if you live nearby? I am from Marshall. We apparently are related!
Oddly 2 other great shops in Terre Haute werent even mentioned. My personal favorite is Terre Haute Guns, and my second choice, Carson Arms. In my humble opinion these 2 shops have better prices and service than the 4 shops mentioned in the article.
This is funny, I now work for Sony, but not for long. They don’t really need the tax abatement because they’ll be closing soon anyway. Rumor has it that they’ll last another 5+ years, but not more than 10. I have 1 more month in that wretched place, then on to a “real” job.
Oh, I work with one of the plant supervisors and he has even told me that he doesn’t think it’ll last 5 years, so he’s been looking for a new job already.
Another fun fact is that Sony – a Japanese company – is divesting in the US and will be moving the majority of it’s production and storage to a cheaper country, possibly China or India. I can get sources for all of this if you’d like. 🙂
Have a nice day Terre Haute! 😀
The replacement of nice masonry buildings that lasted a 100 years and could have survived for many more with cheap wood that will last 20 is such a waste.
Most buildings built today are built of not much more than paper
Sony DADC is too big to deny. Besides, they were represented by political lobbyist/lawyer Rick Shagley, which adds political clout to this corrupt process.
Corporate Welfare in short. Favoritism and financial benefit for the already-rich.
Geoff and Gloria were my tenants in Newport Beach, CA. As a Professor of Physics Emeritus I was interested in Powerdyne’s technology, especially since it was used municipal waste as fuel. but he seemed spmewhat reluctant to engage
It is a good story. It is a shame that in such a short time someone can destroy what I built not to mention what George had built. We took it to new levels of volume after George. Even with the new owner it is floundering. There is a secret to success as a business owner, a basic rule to follow: “I’m the owner, I’m first in a last out everyday and I’m the last person to get paid.” to many people just don’t get this.
Good article describing the play-by-play. One thought, though. When a person/family buys a house, there are, in fact, a couple of big subsidies. The mortgage one can afford is probably bigger than it would be if it weren’t for the HOMESTEAD exemption and the MORTGAGE exemption that come right off the top of one’s property tax bill. Plus, most people get a nice annual benefit by being able to deduct their interest payments when calculating their taxable income. Take away these incentives, and most people would buy smaller, lower-priced homes. If you own rental property, Depreciation rules help too.
Thanks for tweaking my analogy — admittedly not a perfect one. It is really difficult to sort out how much impact any kind of incentive has on the general economy. And one naturally thinks any incentive that’s of personal benefit is the best!
Notably, but not suprisingly, absent from the meeting: Chamber of Commerce representative, Terre Haute Convention & Tourism Bureau representative, Economic Development Council representative….
However, good turnout from the art community and some downtown business owners.
While it’s semi-nice to have ISU present, they bring little to the table in terms of supporting local initiatives and frankly, are doing more to destroy any semblance of architecture in Terre Haute than they are at sustaining or improving it.
Thank you for a great story on the CT show, Lucinda. We all appreciate it.
Thanks for the nice write up Ms. Berry.
Excellent article. I know everyone except Todd, and I trust their analyses shown here. Not sure when I can be there, but I don’t want to miss this show now! Thanks for writing this, Ms. Berry.
This town is stagnant decaying. It’s good to see new life breathed into downtown the past 10 years.
Those building set empty for years, rotting to the core. There was nothing to save besides a facade that reminded you of yester-year.
I say good riddance.
Dear Ryan, thank you for participating in this discussion. I agree that it is be good to see “new life breathed in into downtown”. But, i would like to argue that doing so at an expanse of more demolition is unnecessary. I think, it is poor city planning decision in a long run. What I see being build in this town in a past decade has little architectural value or sound quality to withstand next 30 years gracefully. The problem of dysfunctional downtown architecture could be passed onto city’s new generations.
Besides, why did these building stood up empty and dilapidated? Could it be that the owners had little interest to rent and maintain them? Indeed, it is a disgrace the buildings were not used to the full capacity.
The photo you posted of 6th and Wabash in 1869 is magnificent.
Be sure to visit the Education Gallery on the 2nd floor of the Swope Art Museum to view a bit of the large Gilbert Wilson Collection. The Swope is the caretaker of a significant amount of Wilson artwork and archives. We are always lucky when some of these pieces come out for us to view. The illustrations on display are Ahab’s mental and physical transformation series from Moby Dick. Join the Swope for special openings of 3 new shows @ the Swope for 1st Friday, Feb.7, 6-9pm.
Thanks for bringing awareness to the “Wilson Wilson” Murals. Would love to see organized periodic tours of them. We can visit the murals @ University Hall anytime. Amazing how many Hauteans have not seen any of them.
I like the falling snow.
Thank you for writing this. It should be published on the front page of the paper and nailed to the door of City Hall. A three-storey tall work of public joy and art destroyed for the price of less than thirty luxury cars. Our entire city has been ripped off by this deal. Although no one has died as a result, I keep thinking of the ending of the movie Fargo. As she drives back to town with the criminal in the back seat, Police Chief Marge Gunderson—wonderfully played by Frances McDormand—summarizes the crimes he’s committed, ending with “…and for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’t you know that?”
Thank you for your reporting. Having heard all year that the preservation of the facades was likely I was flabbergasted (read pissed) that this was not to be the case. Oh well, I am at least pleased that the parking problem surely was addressed…. wasn’t it???
That was extemely sad. I’d like to know what percent of the surface area of downtown is concrete. Too much. They will put up a building to replace these beautiful old buildings, but I doubt it will use the space as efficiently.
The Sardonic would be very interested to look into that. We would love to collaborate with the experts for some kind of grass-root study on this question. This continuous argument about lack of parking in downtown area and decrepit architecture seems to be ironic.
There are must be 21-century solutions to both urban architecture and historical preservation. Such evidence is apparent in other cities and states. One does not neglect the other.
Interesting info. I have always felt that the determination to destroy the buildings was a done deal. The smoke screen to preserve the store fronts was just that, a smoke screen to keep those of us who want to save parts of “old Terre Haute”. Same kind of propaganda that led to the destroying of the THH and look what is there now. A run of the mill motel with lousy food. It is to late to save the frontage now but it is interesting to note who profits from this questionable deal.
This is all just so f-ed up! Everyone involved should be ashamed for such a blatant display of ignorance and greed! Tragic!
Thank you for your comment! This “blatant display of ignorance and greed” needs to be viewed as blatant. Please, stay tuned. We are going to upload more illustrations to the article during this week. As I live in downtown, it physically hurts to witness this demolition – it looks like war-zone.
Thanks Lucinda Berry for your research and insights into the life and work of Gilbert Wilson. Wilson is an artist who deserves to better known and understood.
[Pleased to have (finally) been made aware of the “Sardonic Spectator.” (Thank you, Todd Nation.) Best of luck with this needed project. Small suggestion: I find the falling snow bordering Lucinda’s article distracting. It’s also a painful reminder of what I see when I look out the window at the Terreberia landscape. And who needs that in mid-January?]
There will be more on Wilson. Next up — the Woodrow Wilson murals.I am working diligently through the archives at our public library. Thank goodness the materials weren’t tossed out as useless during some kind of money-saving purge!
Wow, thanks! I used to live very close to the coffee grounds, so they had my business simply because it was convenient for me. I never liked Starbucks, anyways. I wondered what happened to the place.
I’m with Becca on Java Haute. I love the service and atmosphere, it’s a fantastic place to study. Plus, free refills of coffee. Coffee grounds charged a dollar for a refill.
Thanks for the insider information!
I was shocked to come home on winter break and see coffee grounds was already long gone. Good to know what exactly went down.
I’d be interested to know what the Sardonic Spectator thinks about Java Haute’s recent surge of success in recent years, and what the Haute’s doing that any future owners of the Grounds could take note of.
Glad we could get the scoop for a supporter of downtown business in Terre Haute. We’ll try to see if Java Haute wants to share the secret of their success. Keep checking the Sardonic Spectator site.
I love the ever hopeful search for a predator that will gobble up crows, but I doubt Terre Haute’s irritation with crows would be enough to save the Statesmen Towers, even if they were the nesting place of the most consumptive corvid connoisseurs .
We appreciate the alliteration in your comment, but fear you have misconstrued the intent behind our question. See “Something to Crow About” on this same site for a more thorough view of our stance on the big black birds.
I just came across this article and would say that it is still relevant. I operate the train at Deming Park. It’s broken down on me several times. My interest in Deming Park and the Spirit of Terre Haute has grown substantially since I began operating the train and am distrubed by the lack of interest by city officials for its mainteneance and well-being. I am wondering if the author of this article is still around.
I’ve been reminiscing and randomly came across this article. Reminiscing no more! I can’t wait to vote today! Miss you all and all you stand for!
Reading the Indiana Code on PILOT, the amount of PILOT cannot exceed what the property tax would have been according to the assessed value of the entity. Would the Wastewater Utility have an assessed value large enough to warrant a $5 million property tax levy?
I have heard the administration advance the theory that the Sanitary District is a utility, I suppose like lights and gas and water. That is a false analogy, of course, for a number of reasons, including that the Sanitary District is also a taxing entity, receiving part of property taxes from property in the district. They also blithely ignore the fact that many of the people paying that tax who are situated outside the city have no access to sewage services. They patiently explain the justice of that by saying that “they might someday.”
Central to the administration’s credibility problems is its fanciful use of language, as well as other forms of mental gymnastics seemingly intended to make their view of reality conform to the view that the rest of us have. Some people insist that this is lying. You can be your own judge of that.
We can mitigate this apparent fast and loose use of the truth by remembering that Indiana municipal governments are largely captives of state government. For example, there are few revenue options available, and of those they only exist at the discretion of the state. Likewise, the entire budgeting process is subject to state review and modification so that, as one governor candidate says, local government is handcuffed by this hovering helicopter fiscal paternalism.
None of this excuses the ineptitude of the administration, which attempts to placate us all by explaining that “this is all very complicated,” suggesting they think it involves facts and concepts beyond the understanding of the rest of us. And that, of course, is not only nonsense, but insulting. The fact is, as this thread points out, the administration has its own problems coping with the hard facts of the real world. It just wraps things up in a package of disguises, and expect us not to notice.