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Wayne’s Words: Bays takes one off Joliet’s money pit list

Wayne Horne | 2/18/2021, 6 a.m.
Most of us, myself included, often use quotes we have heard to make or to emphasize a circumstance or opinion ...

Most of us, myself included, often use quotes we have heard to make or to emphasize a circumstance or opinion that makes a point seem more profound than our own words can accomplish. One of those quotes came to mind and seemed appropriate in light of another item in the local media last week. Abraham Lincoln used the quote on more than one occasion probably because it fits so many occasions. He said: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

Actually, the authorship of the quote, according to my source, is attributed to an English poet named John Lydgate who ranks as one of the most prolific, versatile writers of the Middle Ages (ca. 1370-1449). Everybody knows Lincoln though. I think I’ll stick with him as the author.

What brought the quote to mind was the announcement last week that the City of Joliet was selling one of its two downtown parking decks to local developer John Bays. Bays has several viable projects around town. He has developed many projects in Joliet and other localities and, according to reports, has been successful with his projects.

The beef that arose regarding the sale was that the project was not put out for public bid as required by City ordinance. It’s not an objection without merit, but the reality is no one seemed interested in acquiring the parking deck until it was announced someone wanted to buy it. Thus, the quote above seems perfectly appropriate.

Short term parking in downtown Joliet has been an issue for many years. This column has reviewed the lack of free short-term parking several times. There are solutions to the problem that have been pointed out numerous times but to no avail. The city has done several studies regarding the issue and still no solutions have been implemented other than to raise rates for all the parking spaces. How innovative.

Bays has been interested in acquiring the parking deck since at least last August. Its hardly a new idea to come before the City Council. Not mentioned in all the rhetoric regarding why it didn’t go out for bid is the fact that the parking decks lose a substantial amount of revenue versus expenses every year. That doesn’t even count the cost needed for substantial repairs to the structures which Bays has agreed to complete, according to the sales agreement.

The taxpayers in Joliet should be happy to have Bays take it off the city’s list of money pits. Maybe Bays will have an interest in other projects on that list. The ballpark heads up a directory of money losers. Add to that list the recently moved Casseday House on East Jackson St. Its not owned by the city but it has become an eyesore with no prospects of saving the structure due to a lack of funds. Actually, no funds are available for the project’s completion.

Best suggestion from here about the parking deck? Close the deal fast before Bays changes his mind. Save the taxpayers another year of revenue loss.

One last thing…the topic regarding Lake Michigan as a sustainable source for Joliet’s drinking water will be a subject for debate and discussion for many years to come. Crain’s Chicago Business is currently running a series of articles regarding Lake Michigan as the primary regional source for drinking water. It’s a great resource of information, especially for those who believe Joliet should have pursued a different source for drinking water. Check it out.

Stay tuned…

Contact Wayne at wayneswords@thetimesweekly.com