Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Philip Schley’

Leaders Come Together for the Good of the Community in the Library Green Space Controversy

January 20, 2010

Finally, tf appears that the ugly asphalt from the old Columbus Square parking lot is going tobe removed, and green space will take its place.  At a joint news conference at the new Muscogee County School District Public Education Center building, representatives for the school board, the library board, and the City of Columbus announced a Memorandum of Understanding on the issue.

The understanding is that the city will supply $1,050,412.46 of the 1999 SPLOST Projects to the School Board to remove the asphalt and “for seeding and landscaping said property to the extent that the funds will allow.”

We got a lesson in what can be done when two leaders get together to resolve a controversial issue.  Those two leaders are Mayor Jim Wetherington and School€ Board Chair P$hilip Schley.   Their coming together means the library site is going to be enhanced by a beautiful park instead of a stark old parking lot.  

A Memorandum of Understanding was issued today that allows the City to give $1,050,412.46 to the MCSD to  get the job done.  There were also some land swapping deals between the school system and the city. You can get the details about all of that in the paper and on TV newscasts.  

Attorney Frank Myers, who the mayor gave credit to for helping to bring the two sides together, said that the thing that really got things moving was when the late David Rothschild called Mayor  Wetherington four days before he died and asked him to get the issue resolved.  After that the mayor and  School Board Chair Philip Schley came together.  The city and the school board had been battling over who owned the 1999 SPLOST money that would be used for the park project.  Once they agreed that the public owns it, they decided it should be used to remove the asphalt and build the park. It won’t be called a park, though. State law doesn’t allow a library to operate a park, I was told. I guess it’ll just be library grounds. 

Of course, Columbus Council and the School Board each must approve the memorandum, but it appears they will;  however, you can’t be sure of that.  And this can mean the lawsuit filed by a group that included Rothschild, whom Myers said was totally dedicated to the good of the community, will be dropped.  Josh McKoon, lawyer for the group,  said of the seven plaintiffs in the suit, only one remains to be convinced it should be dropped. McKoon said he hopes it will be dropped and believes it will.

So now it looks as though the asphalt will be removed and replaced by a beautiful green area. That’s what I’ve wanted all along.

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Mayor Wetherington Will Vote for School SPLOST

July 29, 2009

BUT, HE DOESN”T APPEAR TO BE DOING IT WITH GREAT ENTHUSIASM 

 Rotarian Dr. Philip Schley, Chair of the Muscogee County School District Board of Education,  stood up during the question and answer session following Mayor Jim Wetherington’s talk to Columbus Rotarians and asked how the mayor was going to vote on the school SPLOST.  

“Richard [Bishop of Uptown Columbus]  asked me about that this morning, and I told him I hadn’t decided, yet.  But,  I am going to vote yes.”  He explained that was slow to respond because Columbus voters approved of his SPLOST for public safety and street improvements, and he didn’t want to become known as the mayor who is an expert on taxes.  “But, I am going to vote yes.  BRAC is going to mean we need more classrooms.  I am  not, however, going to campaign for it.” 

Jim Wetherington, Mayor, Columbus, GA, J. Robert Jones, Presdient, Rotary Club of Columbus

Jim Wetherington, Mayor, Columbus, GA, J. Robert Jones, President, Rotary Club of Columbus

The mayor gave a “state of the city” speech to members of the Rotary Club of Columbus in which he reported that his goal of 100 new police officers has almost been reached.  He said Columbus is fairing better than a lot of cities during these economically tough times,  that some are on the brink of bankruptcy,  but things are looking good for Columbus, with NCR bringing 800 new jobs to the city when its atomatic teller machine factory opens,  and all of the new jobs that the buildup at Fort Benning will bring.  He also mentioned that two new fire stations are being constructed,  and two police precincts will be opened, one at the new CB&T branch on Buena Vista Road, and another one in North Columbus in the vicinity of Veterans Parkway and Williams Road.

I asked him about all of the talk about his not running for reelection. He smiled and said, “Oh, I don’t know…age is catching up to me.”