BIA still short almost $10,000 for FOI request campaign

The campaign was launched June 9th.

The BIA was told by the city it would have to ante up the money to obtain city hall documents to explain why city council controversially decided to eliminate several commercial spaces from the Pelissier Street parking garage.

The decision flew in the face of an earlier council decision to keep the eight spaces, which have long been underutilized or vacant and are in severe need of repair.  

The request was made “in order to better understand the rationale and reasoning behind Council’s decision, as it went against the advice of urban planners, architects, residents, and the downtown business community at large,” the BIA says on the GoFundMe page.

The BIA was quoted a sum of $13,672.20 by the city clerk’s office to obtain the documents, a sum the BIA called “exorbitant,” and it therefore launched the fundraising campaign to raise the amount.

The FOI documents would include “all meeting records, emails, and text messages between City administration, members of Council, and the Mayor’s office pertaining to the Pelissier Street Parking Garage,” the GoFundMe page says.

The BIA, along with local urban activists, say that keeping the spaces for commercial use, rather than creating 43 more parking spaces and returning the 14,000-sq. ft. space to its original function when the garage was built in 1979 - will result in a more people oriented and healthier downtown.

The largest GoFundMe contribution was made by high profile downtown artist Daniel Bombardier, who donated $1000.

BIA chair Larry Horwitz himself donated $500.

And businessman and former city council candidate Randy Diestelmann, who is also chair of the Ford City BIA on the city’s east side, donated $300.

Of the total of 51 donations so far, other amounts ranged from $100 (10) to $10.

The GoFundMe page is still active.

Horwitz did not respond to a question whether the campaign would be continuing until it reached its fundraising goal.

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