Yes! No! Maybe! No! Yes! I Don’t Know!
BY AND LARGE TERRE HAUTE (THAT’S FRENCH FOR, “I CAN’T MAKE UP MY MIND.”) is a quiet town that lives life one day at a time – except when it comes to making decisions. The civic power structure of this town can never make up its mind about anything. I’d hate to go to lunch with Terre Haute; it would never be able to pick what to eat.
Whenever the City and its elected officials, are called upon to make a decision it must first go through a lifetime of hemming and hawing. They will make up their minds and then immediately reverse themselves and go back to square one. It is as if the City is being run by a collection of squirrels who are trying to cross the street.
The latest example of our Civic Squirrel Patrol has to do with building a new jail. The decision to build a new lockup was made five years ago and ever since then they bounced around on the tricky part of the process – where to put it. Terre Haute is not that big a town, but it does have plenty of open spaces where a new jail would fit nicely. It would not need the space that a new airport would require. It would not need a huge parking lot like a motor speedway like they have in Indianapolis. It is a jail. It would be a building with minimal windows not much in the way of landscaping or a cross country track and field facility. I don’t see where this should take five years to locate.
Three blocks from me there is a vacant piece of land big enough to put a golf course. In fact I see people there practicing their iron shots all the time. Other people go there to fly their model airplanes. You could put a jail there and have room left over for a Dairy Queen or two. The City couldn’t decide if it was a good choice.
For quite some time they thought that the new jail should go on a plot of empty land on the banks of the Wabash River that goes through town. It took them years to notice that the particular piece of land they were considering had a tendency to flood almost every year.
Year after year they announce anew that they have found the ideal spot only to change their collective squirrel minds for one reason or another. The Empire state Building in New York City was built in just over one calendar year, but these folks have wasted five years and a fistful of money doing “Studies” to help them decide.
Elizabeth Taylor married, divorced, and remarried Richard Burton in less time than the Terre Haute City Council has twiddled their thumbs about a new jail.
I try to avoid talking about things political in this blog. I find such things both boring and maddening. I’m writing about this new jail nonsense because it has reached the level of a Classic Farce.
Terre Haute is the home to a huge Federal Prison. It is also the location of the Federales only Death Row. The Prison sits on a huge plot of land about a mile or so away from the current city jail. There is a lot of empty space around the Prison. One of our Civic Squirrels finally noticed this and has proposed that the City build the new jail next door to the Prison. It certainly would fit nicely into the neighborhood.
So, now I will wait for them to announce that a decision has been made…and then a retraction. None of the squirrels will cast the deciding vote just in case that someone might be upset and blame them.
Meanwhile, I think I will go over to that vacant land near me and go fly a kite.