August 23, 2014

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Two things: leave Al alone and help Greendale build new pool
Written by Erika Schmidt Russell   
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:03 PM

And here’s yet another Lawrenceburg column, with some Greendale and Aurora thrown into the mix.

The Lawrenceburg and Greendale stuff collided at Monday night’s Lawrenceburg council meeting, on the heals of a fracas in Greendale last week over the hiring of Al Abdon as city redevelopment director by the redevelopment commission.

Abdon resigned from the commission prior to being hired as director. He also was hired before a new state law kicked in making working for the same political subdivision you’re elected to illegal.

For years, Abdon has tirelessly worked to bring businesses into his city on a volunteer basis. 

Abdon and I have had a few disagreements through the years, but the difference in dealing with Al Abdon vs. other people through the years is he was very straightforward about his connection with a project and wasn’t agitating behind the scenes.

He was professional and did not take any disagreements personally. Greendale has someone it can count on in Abdon. Now shut up, sit down and get out of his way while he goes about promoting businesses relocating or starting in Greendale.

The collision of Lawrenceburg and Greendale business Monday was over forgiving a loan to Greendale for the overhaul of the building housing the police station and clerk-treasurer’s office. Forgiving the loan would free up money for Greendale to use toward building its new swimming pool.

Greendale’s current pool is older than half or more of the city council and the city has been sinking money into it for years.

Lawrenceburg’s pool was built in 2000. A splash pad and kiddie pool were added a few years ago in 2009. Maybe it’s time to add a few more features or expand the current Lawrenceburg pool. But regardless of what Lawrenceburg has or doesn’t have, Greendale should still receive some help from Lawrenceburg for a new pool.

For several years the Lawrenceburg pool has been overcrowded, in part because Harrison closed its pool, and in part because the splash pad is a regional draw.

Giving Greendale a hand with its pool could help alleviate the overcrowding in Lawrenceburg. And while, Greendale has said it would go forward with the pool anyway, a helping hand from Lawrenceburg could help the project move faster. The last thing Lawrenceburg and Aurora need is a summer without a pool in Greendale.

Forgiving the loan may not be the best avenue to give the helping hand, however. As current and former council people mention, it would set a bad precedent. Not that Lawrenceburg hasn’t forgiven loans before, but another could start to tip the balance toward more entities - public and private - asking for forgiveness.

Also complicating matters was the sense that three council people seemed to be in agreement before two others even knew about the loan forgiveness request. That naturally is going to tick off those two council people; after all, they were elected just like the mayor, other council people and clerk-treasurer.

Excluding, whether intentionally or unintentionally, legitimate decision makers is going to make them mad. The problem is there is one other stakeholder in the drama: lots and lots of kids in Greendale and Lawrenceburg.

One father at the meeting Monday night hit the nail on the head. He lives in Lawrenceburg. His kids have friends who live in Greendale. Sometimes the kids would go to Greendale’s pool, sometimes to Lawrenceburg’s. He told Lawrenceburg council to find a compromise and do it for the kids in both communities.

Aurora was mixed into the equation when several council people noted Aurora would be coming to Lawrenceburg for help on a new sewer main to the treatment plant in Lawrenceburg. Helping Aurora with that sewer main is as important as helping Greendale with the pool - probably more so . Of course, I’m biased since I live in Aurora.

However, healthy and prosperous neighbors are good for Lawrenceburg. After all, Indian Hill isn’t neighbors with Over-the-Rhine. And in the long run every city and town is still a part of Dearborn County. The future prosperity of everyone depends on not just the casino but what is done with the revenue while the “boat” is still here.

Erika Schmidt Russell is editor of The Journal-Press and The Dearborn County Register.