Saturday, February 9

July 16, 2006: • The LCCC's Battleground 4

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Here's an image of bravery. A band of people from High Construction, The Lancaster Newspapers, Fulton Financial Corporation,and The Lancaster County Historic Preservation Trust had won the support of every key economic and cultural institution in Lancaster County, including the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce, The Economic Development Corporation, the County's Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and the Mayor, Council and legislators from the City of Lancaster to raze nondescript rotting structures between N. Vine Street on the left of this picture and along S. King Street at the top of this image to make way for the construction I've shown you in the past few days. They'd also won the approval of two of three outgoing County Commissioners to establish the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority... The LCCCA I've mentioned over the past days.

Days before this photo was taken the majority of the old buildings were demolished to clear this area. On the top right of this image you can see yet more large buildings (the dark brick ones) which were scheduled to be pealed away. The remaining structures to the left were scheduled for preservation that would incorporate them into the new convention center.

BUT... two of the three incoming county commissioners, who were elected on pledges of support for this project abruptly abandoned those promises to join with powerful interests of opposition made up of hotel owners, city haters, change opponents, government haters, and a gaggle of anti-everything zealots.

In spite of the astonishing support for this project... those rogue commissioners began to assemble an army of attorneys to restrain and kill this construction. If they were successful the original supporters could lose tens of millions of dollars and economic recovery in Lancaster City would be crippled or probably ended. At the moment I took this peaceful picture, a full on battle had exploded and the other side controlled the entirety of the Lancaster County treasury. The future of an important historical city was plunged into an invisible civil war. Its enemies had captured County Government.

At about that time I asked the executive director of a key agency for his prediction regarding the potential completion of this convention center and its companion hotel. "Ted," he frowned. "A scale of ten? On a good day, I peg its chances of not getting cancelled at 5. No," he thought for a moment. "Make that 4."

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