Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How we almost had the Fed-EX building

I would like to have been a fly on the wall in the conversations that must have taken place over the recently-killed plan for a downtown parking deck and office building next to the Federal building. I'm sure the dialogue between city leaders and our judges was interesting to say the least.

I get the impression that city leaders moved forward cautiously over the last three months after the judges threatened their trump card of taking their jobs and leaving town if the city put up a deck that was too close for comfort.

One source at the Fed bldg told me that a preliminary plan was actually inked at the Cleveland Federal Courthouse to place each of the Akron judges and staff in a new home. The "plan B" was set to kick off the moment city hall broke ground, which would have been this summer. I'm not sure if the men in black actually brought extra boxes to their courtrooms -- just in case -- but they definitely were ready to take their balls and go home.

When you add up each of the Federal entities that do business in that building, we're talking several hundred jobs and the income tax dollars those jobs generate. It would have been a tough sell to see those employees and $$ leave town.

Akron can be grateful that Anthony Manna, the developer whose business was to be part of the parking deck project, is so committed to staying in the city limits.

As we speak, Mayor Plusquellic just started his weekly 10:30 a.m. press conference to discuss the week's issues. Between the parking deck, the police auditor, and Joe Finley .. I'd be surprised if it ends before noon.

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