Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Battery Park, the home of underwater tennis

My daughter and her family moved from the Fan to Battery Park in the spring. Now they are the lucky ones, as they happen to live on high ground, above the water line. Over the weekend, as Ernesto moved through the area, I spoke with Katey a number of times on the phone. I've looked at her husband Brian’s photos of the flood.

Now it seems to me this rising of bad water is something that needs to be looked at thoroughly, including under every rock. And, I suspect it’s likely to spawn a huge controversy over who is to blame.

Still, blame it on today's City Hall, or yesterday's, like many old cities Richmond has some infrastructure problems that have been neglected for years. Now, it’s clearly time to face the music and stop only fixing the stuff that breaks. The residents of Battery Park deserve full disclosure, including what measures it would have taken to have prevented this trouble. At this point we're being told it was matter of a broken pipe of some sort that was hard to find.

The residents of Richmond need to be able to trust their government not to cover up mistakes, not to obfuscate.
Yes, the tennis courts on which Arthur Ashe learned to play tennis are under that water/cesspool being pumped out by those pipes.

Now is the time for Mayor Doug Wilder to show all Richmonders he can deliver more than a glib load of spin and blame. Perhaps now is the time for him to properly use some of the sense of righteous indignation and purpose he showed in getting a new bear for Maymont, and naming it properly.

Now may well be the right time to stop talking about building new baseball parks, or far-flung performing arts centers to be built at taxpayers' expense. In a timely manner, can Mayor Wilder deliver the truth and a realistic solution to Richmond's problem with storm water?

Photos: Brian Knox

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