Proceeding along with the story here, we’ve seen how the plot goes from the old Doran Mill to the Newgrass Brewery and now to City Hall. City Manager Rick Howell has given the brewery the advantage of having an alleyway for tables and chairs, a closed-off street that Howell says isn’t closed and $176K bill to the taxpayers for it all. Oh, yea, there are those grants and such, but still, could you or I land a deal like this if we had a brewery in town? I wonder what the odds of that would be at the casino?
Let’s go back to the old Doran property for a minute. On January 6, 2015, remember that Roger Holland sent a letter to David Dear, (his brewery partner and the guy who owned the building that housed the brewery) stating that they had honored their agreement that in 18 months they would begin the demolition and clean-up. That wasn’t true. The pictures below were taken in September 2015. Pictures do not lie!
Before the brewery was open for business, the mill had been neglected. The urgent request on January 6, 2015, appeared to be a way for Project Cirrus to stop the demolition and gather the wood for the “repurposing” of the brewery. Once the letter to Dear and then to Rick Howell was official, then the work was concentrated on the brewery and the old Doran Mill project was abandoned. A little later on, the county rented some of the property to Schletter for storage, charging them $800 per month.
Schletter’s business brought in revenue and created jobs. And the commissioners set up a contract and charged Schletter to use the property. Yet, Project Cirrus was given the property, the building, and the wood, plus no taxes until a few years later. Not only that, but the county (taxpayers) also had to pay for the demolition, cleanup, and asbestos issues. What’s a few million amongst friends? Oh, and the former county manager (that started the whole mess by the giveaway at his last official meeting) and Roger Holland profited nicely from this little economic development adventure.
These same old problems involving the same people have been going on for years. The research goes back to late 1990. Nothing has changed, except maybe they are more blatant in their dealings. It’s time the people of Cleveland County are made aware of all this grift, graft, and greed. The commissioners are elected. The managers are hired. The cronies are chosen.
What is the will of the people?