One thing that has amazed me over the last six years on the council is the range of opinions that can be had on one topic. I would like to take this opportunity to weigh in on somethings I have heard and read.
The lodge doesn't earn enough: This is an argument between cost/revenue and value. How many things does the city have that do not make a dime yet they provide value to the community. The skatepark, spraypark, numerous parks and playgrounds, all free of charge, all cost money to build and all provide value to the community. By renovating the lodge, value will begin to be brought back to the Island
The lodge is not used enough: Can the city truly say that it has done everything possible to encourage the usage of the Lodge? Have we brought the lodge and the island into good condition to be used as quickly as possible? Personally, the usage that the lodge gets is in spite of our best efforts and more due to the efforts of the Friends of Credit Island and the love of the lodge by the community. The task force recommendation is to make the lodge live with the river, no different than LeClaire Park, Centennial Park, or the New River Heritage Park. It is matter of priorities.
The lodge will not survive wet flood-proofing: Prior to the berm being built, wet flood proofing is what the Lodge experienced for 80 years. During that time, the lodge has stood firm and strong. If mold and bacteria were an issue, health officials had 80 years to bring up the issue. When they built the Lodge they built it right. I have no doubt that a renovated lodge would stand for another 80 years.
The lodge should be in a different location: By renovating the existing lodge, the 14,000 sqare-foot footprint stays. The task force looked at other options, and building new would provide half to a third less building. The Lodge has been determined to be in stable condition. That means the bones are still good. The recommendation is to put a roof on, then rough-in the second floor for future use and finish the first floor where most of the events and activities take place. Also, because the fire started of the second floor, a majority of the first floor is still is usable condition.
Use the money to improve the island: When you go to fix up a house, where do you start? You start where you are going to get the biggest bang for your buck. The lodge is the focal point of the Island. By renovating the existing lodge, you create the biggest impact in the quickest time and use your money the most cost effectively.
The lodge can be so much more than it is now. A few little changes here and there and you can have a welcome center, information center, reception hall, and history center all in one.
If we are going to make this Island a regional attraction again, we need to appreciate everything that has been done and we need to look with the future in mind. By renovating the Lodge the building will be able to continue to meet the needs of the Island for another eighty years.
First Ward Alderman