Monday, December 6, 2010

Speak Up! Tell Us Your Opinion!

Today, I received the following email from my good friend Martha Crosley, director of the Wesselman Park Support Group...


The Wesselman Park/Roberts Stadium baseball complex issue won’t die.
The CVB is still actively pushing it.

But there are those who are not standing still. Wesselman Park Support Group is establishing a committee of the public, business people, and office holders in the Evansville area who will meet to consider the possible uses for Roberts Stadium, its land, and funding for considered projects. These individuals are creative, informed, innovative, and most importantly want to listen to your ideas.

To express your opinions to this committee, please answer the following questions and email or send to the address below:
1. What is your best idea for the use of Roberts Stadium?
2. How would you propose to fund this idea?
3. If Roberts Stadium proves to have engineering or structural problems too big to overcome, how best would you like to see the land used?

Please be specific and email to: or send to Wesselman/Roberts, c/o Huppert, 2424 Stringtown Rd., Evansville, IN 47711

You MUST provide your name, address, and contact information for your views to reach the committee. We value your ideas and want you to be a part of the democratic process. Thanks in advance for your help. Tell
your friends and family so that everyone who wishes may take the opportunity to participate.

Here’s to slowing down the train! It is time to think and plan carefully. No further consideration should be given to the CVB until more data is gathered, more ideas reviewed, and more comparative plans are brought to the table. How do we know we have the best plan if we only have one?

Martha Crosley

This is our chance to voice our opinion on what we should do with Roberts Stadium! In the coming weeks, I will be working with the Wesselman Park Support Group to make sure everyone's voice is heard and we do the right thing to ensure that Roberts Stadium has an adequate reuse purpose and it buffers Wesselman Park from the city perfectly.

We have a lot of great things going for us in Evansville including the new downtown arena. Now is the time to step up with a successful plan to save Roberts Stadium, improve Wesselman Park, and build another asset for the city.

Please tell us what you think should be done along with your funding ideas. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bring Robert Indiana To Evansville, Indiana

Although I'm not a big follower of artists, one artist that has stuck out to me across the United States and elsewhere has been Robert Indiana.

Per Wikipedia...

Robert Indiana was born Robert Clark in New Castle, Indiana. His family relocated to Indianapolis, where he graduated from Arsenal Technical High School. He moved to New York City in 1954 and joined the pop art movement, using distinctive imagery drawing on commercial art approaches blended with existentialism, that gradually moved toward what Indiana calls "sculptural poems".

Indiana's work often consists of bold, simple, iconic images, especially numbers and short words like EAT, HUG, and, his best known example, LOVE.

In 2008, Indiana created an image similar to his iconic LOVE (letters stacked two to a line, the letter "o" tilted on its side), but this time showcasing the word "HOPE," and donated all proceeds from the sale of reproductions of his image to Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Raising in excess of $1,000,000. A stainless steel sculpture of HOPE was unveiled outside Denver's Pepsi Center during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The Obama campaign sold T-shirts, pins, bumper stickers, posters, pins and other items adorned with HOPE. Editions of the sculpture have been released and sold internationally and the artist himself has called HOPE "Love's close relative".

Other well-known works by Indiana including: his painting the unique basketball court formerly used by the Milwaukee Bucks in that city's U.S. Cellular Arena, with a large M shape taking up each half of the court; his sculpture in the lobby of Taipei 101, called 1-0 (2002, aluminum), uses multicoloured numbers to suggest the conduct of world trade and the patterns of human life; and the works he created in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks and exhibited in New York in 2004 called the Peace Paintings.

For those who haven't been to Philadelphia, Indiana's LOVE Sculpture is quite impressive as well as a powerful message. It has turned an ordinary park into a park that tourists visit frequently at Philadelphia's John F. Kennedy Plaza- LOVE Park. I was so impressed with the sculpture that I bought a pencil sharpener in Philadelphia that has the LOVE Sculpture on it.

Indiana has spread his design not only to Philadelphia but to other cities and countries as well. Wikipedia describes the design and idea best...

Love is a sculpture by American artist Robert Indiana. It consists of the letters LO (with the O canted sideways) over the letters VE. The image was originally designed as a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1964, and first exhibited as a sculpture in New York City in 1970. This original sculpture is made of COR-TEN steel and has been on exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 1975. The LOVE design has been reproduced in a variety of formats. Likewise, the sculpture has been recreated in multiple versions and a variety of colors, and is now on display around the world.

While it was first made in English, versions of the sculpture exist in Hebrew, Chinese, Italian and Spanish.

The LOVE Sculpture is in many locations now...

Versions of Love in the United States

Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana
Sixth Avenue in New York City
E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library, Lehigh University Asa Packer Campus
Pratt Institute campus in Brooklyn, New York
Scottsdale's Civic Center
John F. Kennedy Plaza "LOVE Park" in Philadelphia
New Orleans Museum of Art's sculpture garden
Old School Square in Delray Beach, Florida
Middlebury College campus, Vermont
University of Pennsylvania campus, Philadelphia
Museum of Art at Brigham Young University, Utah
Ursinus College campus in Collegeville, Pennsylvania
Pool area of the Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino in Las Vegas
Wichita State University campus in Wichita, Kansas
City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana
Winslow-Holbrook Memorial Park Rockland, Maine

Versions of Love outside of the United States

Shinjuku I-LAND Tower in Nishi-Shinjuku office district in Tokyo, Japan
Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan (also displays Indiana's 1-0)
Orchard Road in Singapore
Plaza del Sagrado Corazón in Bilbao, Basque Country Spain
Outside 1445 West Georgia Street in Vancouver, Canada
Praça do Rossio in Lisbon, Portugal
CentralWorld in Bangkok, Thailand
Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, China
World Trade Center, Hong Kong, China
Chatsworth in Derbyshire, UK, as part of the Sotheby's Beyond Limits exhibition, 2008
Love Park in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, since July 2009
Old Port in Montreal, Canada
Camlica in Istanbul, Turkey

With all of these cities and countries adopting Indiana's artwork, shouldn't Evansville have something to recognize the native Hoosier? It would only seem logical. Furthermore, Evansville could use Indiana both for a LOVE Sculpture as well as a "Big E." So, where would I put Indiana's work?

For the LOVE Sculpture, there are two perfect locations for this. The first and preferred location is Haynie's Corner. What better place to put a LOVE Sculpture than the historic arts district? The second location is the Evansville Museum. Like the art distric, the Evansville Museum has several pieces of great artwork. Also, the Evansville Museum is on the riverfront which is a great place to display this sculpture.

If I had to choose, I would place the LOVE sculpture in Haynie's Coroner and then request Indiana design another sculpture for the riverfront museum. Again, if I had to choose I would say that a "Big E," would sum up Evansville best but Indiana likes building sculptures with 3-4 letters in them to get a better design. So what 3-4 letters could we do to sum up Evansville?

- EVV- with a Big E
- EVIN- with a Big E
- EVAN- with a Big E
- EVVE- with a Big E

I think any one of those 4 designs would maintain the "Big E" message as well as create a better design where we could slant the 2nd and 3rd letters to make it look creative. I believe this design would give Evansville another great sculpture/monument for tourists to visit, residents to gather around, and the museum to market.

Lastly, I wouldn't just stop there with Indiana's work. Like the historic U.S Cellular Arena used Indiana's M shape design on its court back when it was known as the MECCA ( ) and the Milwaukee Bucks played there, I would paint the Evansville Ace's new basketball court at the new Evansville Arena with a "Big E," on each side of the court.

( Old Court at the MECCA; All we have to do is flip the M to an E, change the colors, and add the court markings)

Afterall, the new arena sits on the land formely occupied by the Executive Inn which was known as "The Big E."

Overall, I think working with Robert Indiana is a win-win for both Mr. Indiana as well as Evansville. We would establish our "Big E," image, join the famous list of area's with Indiana's LOVE Sculpture, attract tourists to a downtown sculpture on the riverfront, and design a creative image for the Evansville Ace's basketball court.

We have to bring Robert Indiana to Evansville, Indiana!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Urban Planning Activist Success Story

As someone who is dedicated to being what I call an urban planning activist, I was thrilled to hear the story of Daniel Jacobson. I would like to share it with you. The part that is in bold, is the part where I believe Daniel has an advantage over me by being in Oakland instead of Evansville aside from the fact that they already understand that rails are the future, not interstate roads of the past. That part we need to work on!

A Streetcar Named Renewal
Officials warm to a student's plan for their troubled city.
By Alex Gronke

When he was a kid, Daniel Jacobson drew pictures of cities, maps of places that didn't exist outside his mind. They had boulevards and buildings; they were built on coastlines, at the mouths of rivers and in high mountains. As he grew up in the very real city of Richmond, Calif., Jacobson filled notebooks with his imaginary metropolises. It's rare for the enthusiasms of childhood to become our life's work—consider the oversupply of paleontologists and train engineers if that weren't so—but Jacobson is on his way to becoming someone who draws pictures of cities for a living.

If there is such a thing as an urban planning prodigy, then Jacobson just might be one. Last spring, as he was wrapping up his sophomore year at Stanford, the urban studies major finished a 140-page plan to restore life to a patch of downtown Oakland that's endured a decade-long downward slide. It's not merely the heft of the document or the scale of its ambition that's impressive ( What's remarkable is that local bigwigs from the Chamber of Commerce president to City Council members are taking the plan seriously. Even Jacobson is surprised at how quickly his independent study project became part of Oakland's conversation about itself. "What's fascinating is that it's actually happening," Jacobson said this summer.

Oakland is forever poised on the cusp of a renaissance that never seems to arrive in full.

What's the plan? In painstaking and meticulous detail Jacobson makes the case for a 2.5-mile streetcar line running from Oakland's historic waterfront to a moribund district near downtown that is home to a handful of struggling car dealerships. The streetcar would be more than a people mover. According to Jacobson's forecasts, an economic boom would flower along its tracks, climaxing in the transformation of Oakland's old Auto Row into a swanky retail district with high-end stores in the showrooms where new Oldsmobiles and Mercurys once gleamed.

This, according to one of the people who guided Jacobson through the arcana of 21st-century streetcars, is the genius of Jacobson's report. "It is a real art to be able to articulate the combination of investment in public infrastructure and the outcome to be the rejuvenation of a community," says Rick Gustafson, executive director of Portland (Ore.) Streetcar, a nonprofit corporation chartered by the city to run the system.

Indeed, Gustafson was skeptical when an undergraduate called him out of the blue last year and told him he wanted to learn everything he could about Portland's streetcars. Nonetheless, Gustafson invited him to Portland. With a small grant from the vice provost for undergraduate education, Jacobson journeyed north to see firsthand a formerly struggling neighborhood saved by a streetcar. Portland's streetcar system, which debuted in 2001, is credited with helping to bring life and money back to several blocks of old, unused warehouses, now Portland's hip and hopping Pearl District. The initial cost of $57 million has more than paid for itself, says Gustafson, who, it should be noted, is also a principal in a consulting firm that would likely bid to help develop Oakland's streetcar plan if it moved forward.

THE RIGHT TRACK: The plan forecasts 24,000 new jobs, $6 million in new sales tax revenue and 20,000 new Oaklanders.
Courtesy Daniel Jacobson

The dollar signs are a big lure for city officials facing a $31 million budget deficit this year, and a $48 million deficit the next. Home to 400,000 people across the Bay from San Francisco, Oakland is a city of contradictions forever poised on the cusp of a renaissance that never seems to arrive in full. It boasts the hottest restaurant scene in the Bay Area right now, but its unemployment rate is 17 percent. In July, the Oakland City Council voted to lay off 80 cops. They may have to let go of another 122 in January. Those aren't the headlines citizens like to read, when their city is frequently ranked one of America's most violent. Politicians running for re-election don't relish them either.

So, it's no surprise that a plan predicting 24,000 new jobs, $6 million in new sales tax receipts and 20,000 new Oaklanders would catch the attention of Oakland's city leaders. "His study has added a degree of public attention to the big picture, why a streetcar matters," says Rebecca Kaplan, JD '98, Oakland's at-large City Council member, who is running for mayor this year.

But it's not just Jacobson's number crunching that foretells future success as an urban planner. Jacobson has an uncanny sense of how things actually get done in an American city. Underneath its architecture and ordinances, a city's true power base rests on an intricate web of alliances, friendships, egos, enmities, greed and pride. If a good idea that penciled out were all that was required to get things done in Oakland, California's eighth largest city would be a different place. So would most cities.

This summer, Jacobson had an internship at Berkeley-based urban planning firm Calthorpe and Associates, and while he's hobnobbing with Oakland's power brokers now, his initial introduction to the city came through its more troubled precincts. While in high school, Jacobson volunteered at Oakland's McCollum Youth Court, which provides young people like Jacobson an opportunity to get hands-on training in a legal setting while diverting young offenders from the criminal justice system. Jacobson's hometown of Richmond is a tough place by Bay Area standards, but he grew up in one of the city's nicer neighborhoods and attended a private high school. The youth court offered a window into a world where kids had few opportunities for a good education or meaningful job training.

The experience stayed with him, and when it came time to pick an independent study project, Jacobson knew he wanted to do something in Oakland—but with a Silicon Valley mindset. "Stanford has such a great culture of entrepreneurship and innovation: I'm surrounded by friends who are constantly pushing the envelope in nearly every field possible," he said. "I really wanted to channel that 'Google mentality' toward confronting the economic and environmental challenges of Oakland."

Will a real streetcar rattle along Oakland's Broadway? There's a lot that can go wrong before the city sees a new streetcar line. But Kaplan, who helped bring a free shuttle to downtown this summer, says she hopes the bus will be a first step toward building a streetcar line. She's made streetcars part of her campaign platform. It's a long way from a kid's drawing in a notebook.


ALEX GRONKE is a longtime Oakland resident and publisher of the daily news website Oakbook.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ducks, Ducks, & More Ducks

These past three years, I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel around the U.S & Canada. I would say I have been to almost 90% of the country these past 3 years, highlighted by an unbelievable opportunity to live in Seattle, Wa. Some trips were for business, some for vacation but during all these trips I have been compiling ideas for Evansville which hopefully you have been reading on this blog.

One of the coolest concepts that I have ever seen has been a company called, " Ride the Ducks." I have seen them in Seattle, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Boston, and several other cities. They are the only tour organization that can take their tourists both on water and on land. They take their riders around famous landmarks around the city and then plunge directly onto the river where riders can view the city from the middle of the water.

When I first saw these vehicles, my first question was, " How do those vehicles do that?" According to wikipedia...

"The actual vehicle is based on the famous World War II DUKW amphibious design. Today, the company builds its vehicles from the ground up to incorporate advances in marine design and safety. Ride the Ducks now owns the rights to, and manufacturers its own amphibious vehicles. In addition to equipping their vehicles with a number of safety features, including an abundance of adult- and child-sized lifejackets, duck captains are Coast Guard certified and hold commercial drivers' licenses. The captains are also fully trained in first aid and CPR."

While Evansville may not be as large as the current cities that have Ride the Ducks and it may not have as many landmarks ( don't worry I'm working on that), I still believe this would be a perfect idea for Evansville. Why? Because, how many tourists that come to Evansville want to go out on the mighty Ohio River but can't because there's no place that will take them out on the water? And how many tourists would like to know more about Evansville but don't know where to go and there is no one there to explain the town to them?

Here in Evansville, we have a great asset in the Ohio River. It's about time we took advantage of it. But where else would Ride the Ducks go here?

In my opinion, the following locations must be included in the tour routes...

- Bosse Field
- Roseanne House
- Reitz Home
- Greyhound Bus Station
- Roberts Stadium
- Old Courthouse & Jail
- Reitz Bowl
- Wesselman Woods
- Mesker Park Zoo
- Angel Mounds
- Willard Library

Of course, there are many more landmarks not on my list that could be added. The point is, if we are going to do our best to attract tourists to Evansville with the new arena, we need to have a company that shows them around for us and puts our best asset before them, which is the Ohio River. All this company would have to do to get this project going is lease a spot downtown and bring their vehicles here. Then, we're ready to go!

Most importantly, Ride the Ducks would be located downtown, which would encourage tourists to come downtown, which inturn would encourage business developers to come downtown. Now that's something I think we can all support!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Helping the ECVB & Roberts Stadium at the Same Time

For those of you who don't know, I also run the blog I have emailed Ripken Design about studying Roberts Stadium to find a useful and profitable purpose for it while keeping it intact. You can read about this at I know the last thing the ECVB or the county council wants to do is tack an additional $32,500 onto the project but I believe that it needs to be done because I am fully convinced it will save the $1.5 million (which use to be $1.25 million) costs of demolishing Roberts Stadium. I also have a plan for financing it.

After I spoke at the county council meeting last weekend about the ballfield project, the Evansville Convention & Visitor's Bureau ( the group who is undertaking this project) went back up infront of the council to request $10,000 more dollars from the council. Why? Because their Executive Director position, which has been vacated by Marilee Fowler, isn't attracting anyone they want to take the position for $88,000.

I found this VERY INTERESTING given the fact that I myself have applied for this position. For the record, I have a degree in marketing and management from the University of Kentucky, and I even provided them with this blog which has almost 50 ideas for getting Evansvile moving forward. However, I was never interviewed and the EVCB said they're recruiting team interviewed feverishly here locally and found no one they wanted to take the position, thus they now need to bump the salary up to $98,000 and add relocation expenses if the candidate is out of the area. This is almost 1/12th the budget of the EVCB for one person.

As a recent graduate, I'm willing to accept this position for $60,000 so that the remaining $28,000 can be saved for the study to save Roberts Stadium, as well as saving the council the additional $10,000. If after the end of the year the EVCB and the city aren't satisfied, they can simple let me go and start back to where they are today. It's a win-win solution that will help save Roberts Stadium. As the email from Ripken Design said, now is the time to find a solution for Roberts Stadium!

Monday, October 18, 2010

An Open Invitation to the Mayor and City Officials

As the founder of Tri-State Tomorrow and the creator of and, most of you all know by now that I have a vision. I have a vision that sometime during my lifetime Evansville will pass other cities and become the city it’s suppose to be. I also have a plan. A plan to not only save Roberts Stadium but to keep it profitable as well, a plan to build the best ball field complex in the U.S next to Bosse Field and Garvin Park, and a plan to take the new arena to even greater heights.
Since I started the group and my blogs, the support from local citizens has been nothing short of tremendous. Unfortunately, that enthusiasm has not been shared by city officials. That’s why I am sending an open invitation to the mayor and any city official who is interested.

Roberts Stadium has been an Evansville icon for over 50 years. It has served Evansville well and I will fight for it until the last brick is removed. Mayor Weinzapfel, I believe we can keep Roberts Stadium profitable by keeping the Home Show there and adding indoor recreational activities. Would you be interested in sitting down with me to make Roberts Stadium work financially?

The ball field complex is a good idea but we need to put it next to Bosse Field where each field pays tribute to a historic ball field and the complex pays tribute to baseball’s golden age. Mayor Weinzapfel, I’m willing to volunteer all my time at no taxpayer expense to help you put this plan together and make it work. Would you be willing to help me?

Mayor Weinzapfel, in an effort to take the new arena to even greater heights, I am willing to personally go with you and city officials all the way to the NBA World Headquarters in Secaucus, NJ to let them know that Evansville is open for business for a NBDL expansion team. Furthermore, I’m willing to volunteer all my time to try to get the Bluecats back and to get USI and the NCAA to play games and tournaments here.

I graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2009 with a degree in marketing and management in sports. I can think of no better time to make my degree work. I worked for this education so that I could be in this position to help Evansville and its rich sports history thrive. I also fully believe that Evansville will be behind us in this plan. I only have one more question for you: Are you in?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Food & Retail Businesses I Would Like to See in Evansville

Lately, it seems like the same ole same ole businesses have occupied the Evansville market. If Evansville is ever going to take itself to the next level, it must diversify its market place. Here is a list of random stores and restaurants that I would like to see come to Evansville...

Skyline Chili- Cincinnati Chili at its best.

Gold Star Chili- See Skyline Chili.

Old Spaghetti Factory- Would look great next to Bosse Field.

Johnny Rockets- Great 1950's style food.

Joe's Crab Shack- Would be nice on the riverfront.

Firehouse Subs- Place one in the old fire station on St. Joe and place them next to other firestations. Take a percentage of the profits and keep the firehouses open!

Ryans Buffet- Similar to Golden Corral; a lot of different food for a good price.

Whole Foods- Healthy food for those who want to stay in shape.

Sports Authority- Everytime I'm in a college town or professional sports town, I stop into the Sports Authority to pick up some sports merchandise.

Neiman Marcus- 7th biggest department store in the country.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Making Evansville a No Kill City

As an avid supporter of animal rights, I find the current state of the city's animal control shelter to be nothing short of despicable. I find it to be quite pathetic the amount of cats and dogs that are put to sleep simply because no one cares.

A few months ago, I was inside the facility to see if my cat that had gotten outside had been picked up. I ended up adopting another cat inside the facility because I felt so bad for it due to the conditions it was living in. The process was nothing short of ridiculous. No one knew where the cat came from, no one knew anything about it, and the amount of red tape I had to go through just to figure out anything at all about the cat took me through several different people. Needless to say, things need to change. Anyone who is satisfied with the current conditions of the animal control department is nothing short of a fool. Evansville needs to be a no kill city.

In 1994, the City of San Francisco popularized the trend towards no-kill shelters. The San Francisco SPCA, led by President Richard Avanzino who would later become the President of Maddie's Fund, along with the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control guaranteed a home to every "adoptable" dog and cat who entered the shelter system. Since then the city of San Francisco (the SPCA along with the Department of Animal Care and Control) has been able to keep San Francisco as a no-kill city. In 2007, the live release rate of all dogs and cats in the city of San Francisco was 82%

There is a fantastic group here working towards that goal for Evansville:!/group.php?gid=101458016563555

Although it would be great if we could get some government funding or just some basic legislation passed preventing these animal deaths, you and I both know that the current crop of politicians will never do something that productive, thus we need to solve this problem ourselves.

One of the coolest things I have seen in the animal welfare department is a place called Purina Farms in St.Louis, MO. Per their website, "Purina Farms combines an events center, a visitor's center and two canine competition areas. Show and field events as well as hands-on activities and exhibits reinforce the bond between pets and their people. The Purina Farms Visitor’s Center incorporates a Pet Center, a full-size barn containing domestic farm animals, and a theater and informational center. Demonstrations, dog obedience shows and hands-on petting areas are some of the highlights of this popular attraction, which draws nearly 200,000 visitors a year."

This would be a great asset to our community if we had something like this as well. Imagine having a facility where dogs and cats were free to roam around and it made money because the facility had sponsors, donors, and revenue drawing events.

There are plenty of locations inside the city limits where this could be housed relatively cheaply, although I don't have a particular spot I'd support over another. Any warehouse district would do although it would be nice to have a location next to a hotel to increase tourist revenue.

In my opinion, one facility like this would easily make Evansville a no kill city. It would also improve Evansville's image as creative, progressive, and a place where tourists would like to visit all while saving the lives of the innocent dogs and cats in our facilities.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In response to the C&P's anti-high speed rail editorial

Today the Evansville Courier & Press released an editorial on high speed rail claiming that it is not a proper replacement for highways...

My response is as follows...

I'm EXTREMELY disappointed the C&P would publish this. This article is way off base with the high speed rail industry.

First of all, Avery's rail study wasn't even for high speed rail, it was for slow speed passenger rail which was disappointing but it still would have been a start just like Ohio is doing with their 3C program.

The C&P honestly thinks the northeast is the only target for high speed rail expansion? Quite the opposite...

In fact, the midwest has gotten its fair share
even though California voters approved their project directly on the ballot back in 2008.

And it's beside me why this town has ignored the progress around it. Look at these maps. One of these cities is not like the others.


And don't even give me that "it's too expensive" argument. I've never seen a route where building a 1950's interstate was cheaper than building high speed rail. For this very reason California is building their high speed rail because it is cheaper than expanding highways and airports, not to mention much more environmentally friendly which the CP and I-69 supporters couldn't care any less about.

I-69, by INDOTS projections is expected to cost $3.31 billion, which has tripled, and they don't tell you that this estimate doesn't take into account the ohio river bridge, the interchanges that were taken out that will need to be put back in, and the fact that cheaper materials are being used which will result in road construction in the very near future. This road will cost every bit of $5 billion. On the flip side, high speed rail will only cost 1/4th of what it would cost to build highways...

Lastly, what in the world does Steve "Good Ole Boy" Schaeffer know about high speed rail? The answer is nothing! He is a biased supporter for I-69 and his group is nothing more than a front group for the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce and we all know what they've accomplished for Southern IN: Nothing!

Schaeffer's article in question here :
was extremely poorly written and I'm surprised it's being brought back up in this editorial. I've debunked just about all of it on my blog...

Build I-69 claims their road would create 4,600 permanent jobs. A high speed rail TEST FACILITY would create 1,500 jobs alone

The fact is: high speed rail is cheaper (fares and construction), it's cleaner, it's faster, it's safer, it pays for its own maintenance costs, and it will create more jobs.

The decision of do you want Evansville to keep playing catch up with the interstate system or join the rest of the U.S in building modern and futuristic high speed rail should be a very easy one to make.

If the C&P is really serious about the high speed rail vs i-69 debate they would hold a forum and invite high speed rail experts to speak, not just write an editorial quoting a biased i-69 supporter.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Outside the Box Idea for the Old Diamond Ave Buylow

For the past decade, it has been very sad to watch the complex located at the corner of First Avenue and Diamond Avenue slowly decay. First, Buehler's BuyLow decided to close it's doors due to the fact that the store was competing with its other store on First Avenue. Then, ShopKo, which started out as a Hills and then a Venture, closed its doors. Faced with the loss of the two anchor stores, the rest of the complex, which one held a dollar discount store and a chinese restaurant, closed its doors as well. To top it off, Blockbuster, located in the parking lot of ShopKo, declared bankruptcy and closed its doors as well. Today, the entire complex sits dark and abandoned.

It seems very obvious to me that another mixed retail center like the ones in previous years will not work. Although the site is at a busy intersection, it is also in a tough place to navigate your vehicle to and it's on a dying street. Shoney's, Fazoli's, and the Spaghetti House were all on First Ave as well and all too have gone out of business. This clearly indicates that it's time to try something new.

Tearing down the entire complex would be expensive and wasteful. Most importantly, there really isn't any other building complex you could put on the site that would do any better. So what project could be done to revitalize the old buylow and maybe the entire complex?

Do you remember the game "Super Market Sweep?"

Per Wikipedia...

Supermarket Sweep was an American television game show. Part of the format was similar to other team-based quiz shows; the other part was a live-action race through a supermarket, a novel concept at the time. In the timed race, cameras followed the teams with shopping carts through a large vacated supermarket with several aisles; the value of items thrown into the cart determined the winning team. The original show was broadcast on ABC (December 1965-July 1967), with revivals airing on Lifetime (February 1990-May 1995, reran until August 1998) and later PAX (April 2000-May 2003, reran until March 2004).

ABC's Supermarket Sweep was broadcast from Food Fair supermarkets, mostly around New York City. For the Lifetime version, a mock supermarket was created at Hollywood Center Studios.[1] It was modeled after a Hughes Market until September 1993, when it was remodeled again after a Unified Western Market. The PAX version was staged in the same set and studio as the Lifetime version. Beginning in September 2001, the show moved to NBC Studios.

The host for the 1965-1967 ABC version was Bill Malone. The announcers were Wally King from 1965-1966, and Richard Hayes from 1966-1967, with Johnny Olson and Gene Wood as frequent substitutes during those years. The host for the 1990-1995 Lifetime version and the 2000-2003 PAX version was David Ruprecht. The announcers were Johnny Gilbert from 1990-1995 and again from April-September 2000, then Randy West for the rest of the show's run.

I can't help but think that this would be a great project for Channels 7, 14, or 25 to take on. The old Buylow is not a megastore so it would be the right size to host the studio. Back in the early 2000's WFIE weatherman Jeff Lyons hosted a game called Backatcha which for the most part was a success. I believe that this game show would be a success from the very beginning because...

1. It would be something unique for the complex
2. It would entertain those in the audience
3. It would be very low cost. Rent would be affordable and food vendors would sponsor their own products in the show

If the idea really took off, the old ShopKo could host a "Shop Til You Drop" which use to come on after Supermarket Sweep, but that might be a stretch due to the fact that that building is quite significantly larger. However, a Supermarket Sweep in the old Buylow would bring vistors back to the complex which can only help the entire complex. That's why I believe that one of the local television stations should explore this project.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Please Support My New Group: Save Roberts Stadium!

In an effort to preserve historic Roberts Stadium, I have created the blog Please visit the site (If you haven't already) to find out what kind of various projects we can use Roberts Stadium for and what is the best location for the new ballfields.

Make no mistake, I am not against building little league ballfields here in Evansville. In fact, I think it's a good idea. However, I do not believe tearing down historic Roberts Stadium is the proper plan for Evansville.

I ask that you be vocal in your support for Roberts Stadium. Please contact your local legislators, Mayor Weinzapfel, and the Evansville Courier & Press (all contact info is on the site). I believe that with enough support, we can build quality ballfields next to Garvin Park and find a useful and productive purpose for Roberts Stadium going forward!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Creating A Museum Row Downtown

If you've ever been to downtown Louisville, KY, chances are that you've been to Museum Row on Main Street. With the Louisville Slugger Museum, The Louisville Science Center, The Muhammad Ali Center, and six other museums, Louisville's Museum Row is a top notch tourist draw. ( )

It seems very obvious to me that Evansville has a lot of history to create several museums but very little foot traffic downtown to make it worthwhile. With CMOE, The Evansville Museum, and The Reitz Home already downtown, a Museum Row would both compliment these venues as well as entice enough tourists to come visit downtown.

In previous posts, I've called for a Women's Baseball League Museum, a Negro League Museum, a Louisville Slugger Bat Factory Museum, and a Evansville Baseball Museum to set up shop in the Bosse Field & Garvin Park district. I've also called for a WWII museum to be built at the Port of Evansville. But what kind of museums would work downtown? I have come up with the following...

A HydroPlane Museum- Would commemorate the 30 + years of racing in Evansville as well as rejuvenate the movement to bring back hydroplane racing to Evansville.

A Roseanne Museum- Would commemorate the television show Roseanne that was produced by Evansville native Matt Williams. Tourists would start at the museum and then take a tour through out Evansville of spots featured in the show.

A Refrigerator Museum- Would commemorate the refrigerator's built here, the Refrigerator Bowl, and people who built the refrigerators.

There are several other museums that would make good candidates to form a Museum Row. So where would I build this Museum Row? Obviously, if the WWII museum is ever built or the Times Square Pavillion I have proposed ever comes to fruition, those would be the logical top candidates. But as of right now, they aren't built, thus making my prime location as 4th street next to the intersection with Walnut. In that area, there is already historic buildings and on one side of the road is an open parking lot where more museum buildings could be added. The street is also within walking distance of Main Street and the new downtown arena, making it the perfect place for a Museum Row!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Please Join My Group Tri-State Tomorrow And Help Lift "The Pal" From Evansville!/group.php?gid=10150104705160244&v=wall&ref=ts

As someone who believes that Downtown Evansville and the surrounding areas has an exponential amount of potential, I have recruited some of our fellow residents who feel this same way. We meet every Monday night at 5:30 at 815 John Street, Suite 20. If you too would like to see '' the pal'' lifted from Evansville, please join us and help us out. We'd love to have you join. If you can't make the meetings but would like to do something else, feel free to email me at

Right now we are voting on which projects we would like to start out with. Here is the poll and here is a brief description of each idea...

Welcoming newcomers to Evansville with a gift basket: Similar to a "welcome wagon" idea we would obtain goodies and marketing materials from local businesses. We would then put them into gift baskets and drop them off at the homes of newly arrived residents

Baseball opening week parade and festival at Bosse Field: Bosse Field opened up with a parade. We would like to take advantage of this rich history by putting together a parade and a festival with events to be determined during the week leading up to Otters Opening Day. Ultimately, this would be a spring version of the Fall Festival.

Reycling Project where we increase the city recycling rate: We will set up recycling bins at restaurants and other businesses that don't recycle, we would pick up trash and recycles around the city, and we would work with city gov't to get bigger recycling bins in local households.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Next Project For Evansville's Museum: A Solar Dome

Thanks to the dedication of Evansville Museum director John Streetman and the Evansville Museum board, the 104-year old museum will be receiving a facelift in the coming months. With the theme " Reaching For The Stars," the addition is expected to be complete in the fall of 2010. The new addition will have a plaza, a pavilion, and a theatre dedicated to astronomy, history, science, and arts.

It's been quite some time since there has been something new, and it's got me thinking: What else could the museum add in the future that would signifactantly increase it's notoriety. Everytime I think about the museum needs one thing comes to mind, a solar dome.

With all of the recent additions focusing on the planets around us, a solar dome would fit the museums profile perfectly. It would also satisfy the needs of Evansville, which has great solar energy potential as well as a need to find an alternative fuel.

So what would a solar dome have in it and where would it be? Well first of all, the museum and the city of Evansville could go in two different directions for the design depending on what the city needs in the future. If there is a potential minor league football team, a possible downtown mega high school, and/or a need for a multi-purpose facility, then the facility should be big enough to house both the museum's exhibits as well as room for a football field. More than likely though, only a dome that would house the museum's exhibits will probably be necessary.

When looking at other science center domes, the one that comes to my mind is the St.Louis Science Center right outside of downtown St. Louis ( That science center is VERY similar to Evansville's. It has a planetarium, a discovery room, a science lab, and an OMNIMAX Theater. It also has many traveling exhibits.

So what could the Evansville Museum do to make its dome better than St.Louis's dome. My suggestion is this: Use it for electricity as well. As I said earlier, Evansville has great potential to generate solar power. When the Unified Electric Smart Grid comes online in a few years, the city could sell this power to anywhere in the U.S. When Vectren needs to raise rates even higher than what they are now, Evansville is going to wish that it had done more for solar power. This would be the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Install solar panels on top of the dome and use the money to fund the museums other projects at the same time.

Where could the dome be placed? In my opinion, the dome should be placed either behind EMTRAC or on the Sunset Park block just east of EMTRAC. Either one of these locations would be perfect for the solar dome. The only downside is that parking spaces would be eliminated (yet another reason for Personal Rapid Transit)which would have to be factored in. If need be, I believe that more parking could be added across Waterworks road.

If you think about it, a solar dome could do a lot of good things for the city. It could lower electricity costs, provide more funds for the museum, and even add another unique landmark to the Evansville skyline. Now is the time to build the Solar Dome!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Replicating Boston's Big Dig With The Lloyd Expressway

Late this year, a Lloyd Expressway overpass going over Fulton Avenue will open up with construction being complete. While this is one of the few projects in Evansville that seems to have the majority of the support from local residents, in my opinion it has two major flaws.

1. It drains from the gas tax. I am under the belief that the gas tax should be used to fund projects that will improve the future of transportation by 1. Eliminating the need for oil 2. Safely increase the speed of transportation & 3. Reduce the costs of transportation. High speed rail, Maglev rail, Personal Rapid Transit, and Light Raill all answer these three questions. Funding an overpass over Fulton Avenue will only eliminate a few car wrecks and save motorists maybe 5 or 10 minutes. In the long run, the overpass is basically useless, thus the gas tax should have never been used to fund it.

2. This overpass is above ground not below ground. This mistake has resulted in the division of downtown from the rest of Evansville and it has occupied much vital land. If the Lloyd Express were buried, there would be several hundred acres of downtown land opened up. This land could be used to 1. Redig the Wabash and Erie Canal 2. Construct a high speed rail line ( I would prefer high speed rail replace the Lloyd underground) 3. Construct a gateway entrance park like the ones in the 2001master plan.

While this may seem like a radical plan, there already is a precedent for this project. Facing a cramped city with no room to go, Boston decided to bury it's interstates that go through its downtown. Known as "The Big Dig," the project freed up much land downtown where parks, shops, and buildings now call home.

Although Evansville isn't as crowded as Boston, it would do wonders for the city to free up valuable land next to downtown. All of this land would put a significant amount of revenue in the downtown TIF districts coffers which would 1. Pay off the arena quicker 2. Fund a ballpark on the Mulzer Stone site & 3. Free up much needed land for a canal.

It may be a difficult project to achieve politically, but sooner or later Evansville needs to realize that burying the Lloyd not elevating it is the solution.