Volume 10, Issue 42- Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Donald Trump has been promising to build a physical border wall since his earliest campaign days. The wall, however, sparks so much controversy from all sides it is believed to be DOA with Congress. 

The cost of a wall would add billions more to the national debt and almost every expert says there is no way that type of structure would ever achieve Trump's objectives. A wall as the President has suggested would ignore all environmental and land regulations in place today. Mexico will not pay for any part of it and the wall would create increased tension between the U.S. and Mexico. 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has given its U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency permission to ignore environmental and land regulations. In spite of that, Congress will not approve funding for the wall. Sometime in the near future, there is a very strong possibility that the Administration and Congress may consider a virtual wall or a virtual border between the two countries. 

Using technology readily available, rather than bricks and mortar, border patrol agents could monitor all 2,000 miles of the border in real time. This possibility seems to be leading many politicians to the idea of a virtual border. Most believe that a virtual border would be more effective, less costly and more humane than a physical wall. 

Regardless of the politics surrounding the border, if a virtual wall gets serious consideration, it could result in a windfall of funding for new public safety technology. And, with more emphasis on public safety technology, the technology would most likely make its way from the border into many of the country's cities, schools, churches, theaters, restaurants and music venues as a way to protect Americans where they live. 

Texas A&M AgriLife was awarded a $3.85 million grant from DHS earlier this month to lead a consortium known as a Center of Excellence for cross-border threat screening and supply chain defense. More universities are likely to receive similar funding. 

Check out the latest article from our Texas Government Insider Newsletter!
Courtesy photo: mdta.maryland.gov
Maryland- A 75-year-old bridge is getting a new name and a new look. Gov. Larry Hogan announced the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge will be renamed after Charles County Senator Thomas "Mac" Middleton. During the 2018 Legislative Session, a law was passed that would rename the Nice Bridge. Hogan also announced that a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the new $765 million bridge has been released. The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) anticipates advertising a design-build contract for the new bridge in 2018, starting construction in 2020, and opening a new, wider, and safer bridge in 2023.  

Without the new bridge, the existing bridge would have required a major rehabilitation project in the next five years. The new bridge will be built north of and parallel to the existing 1.7-mile bridge and will include four new lanes for traffic, with two in each direction. Currently, there are 1,073 transportation projects, totaling nearly $8 billion under construction across the state - a record amount for the state of Maryland. 
Connecticut- University of Connecticut (UConn) Health is the state's public academic health center, which includes John Dempsey Hospital, UConn School of Health, UConn School of Dental Medicine, The Graduate School, UConn Medical Group, dental clinics, research laboratories and more. This week, the health system took a step in pursuing a public-private partnership (P3) by releasing a national solicitation of interest letter. The letter is a request for proposals from health organizations across the country interested in partnering with the Farmington-based health system. 

The General Assembly passed legislation in June 2017 requiring UConn Health's Board of Directors to begin the process of establishing a P3 and to submit a report to the legislature by April. The three-page report summarized the network's efforts, the rationale for the partnership and the process needed to move forward. UConn Health was established in 1961. In recent years, the health network opened its $203 million outpatient pavilion - a 300,000 square-foot facility - and the $318 million inpatient University Tower, which has 169 inpatient beds. The 384,000 square-foot tower was funded through general obligation state bonds. UConn Health's annual budget has been about $1 billion over the last five years - with about 22 to 24 percent coming from state appropriations.
Ohio- In Columbus, Ohio State University will undertake a renovation of its Celeste Laboratory of Chemistry and has released a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a commissioning agent. The lab, built in 1986, is one of the most-used facilities on campus and is visited by approximately 10 percent of the student population. Renovations will include upgrades to the building's mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, improvements to its exterior, replacing elevators and changes to chemistry labs. 

In August, the university's board of trustees approved $3.9 million in funding for professional services and design on the project. The total cost of the project is estimated at $29 million with $25 million of that coming from the state. Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2019 and finish by the end of 2022. The board of trustees will meet next month to provide final approval of the project.
Courtesy photo: klydewarrenpark.org
Texas- An expansion of Dallas' Klyde Warren Park has been announced by VisitDallas and The Woodall Rogers Park Foundation. The $76-million public-private partnership is slated to add 1.2 acres over Woodall Rogers Freeway just West of St. Paul St. The expansion will include additional green space and public gathering places, as well as the VisitDallas Experience Center. 

The multi-use pavilion will allow the park to offer an indoor venue for special events and other retail opportunities. Advisors hired by the city of Dallas have projected that this new phase of development will ultimately have an $850 million impact in stimulus to the area. Design and construction of the project are scheduled to begin in 2019, with completion slated for 2022.

Nov. 27 and 28
The Public-Private Partnership (P3) Federal Conference takes place Nov. 27 and 28 at the Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Over 80 leading practitioners will present their firsthand observations of P3 projects of all sizes from around the country, and detail the P3 arrangements employed by agencies to develop, maintain, and repair critical infrastructure systems. With keynotes, case studies, panels, workshops, and diverse networking opportunities, conference attendees will deepen their understanding on the key principles behind P3s and other alternative delivery methods, and the role they can play in delivering essential transportation, health, defense, social and water infrastructure projects. 

A comprehensive list of best practices and lessons learned will be presented through a series of seminars, panels and workshops. A few of the sessions include: 

- To P3 or Not to P3: How to Determine the Appropriate Project Delivery Model; 
- P3s for Rural Areas and Small Cities; 
- Winning Formulas for Water Infrastructure Projects; 
- Using P3 to Transform Energy Management; 
- How States and Cities can Expand their Infrastructure Delivery in Light of a Reduced Federal Role; and,
- Financing Solutions Offered in P3s 

Check out this packed, two-day agenda and join more than 800 attendees for this national conversation on P3 project delivery. Register for the event here

Finlay Park
South Carolina- The city of Columbia is examining the potential of a private overhaul and management of Finlay Park. Located near the governor's mansion, the 17-acre park predates the Civil War, unfortunately the park has become dilapidated over the past few decades and has generally been populated by homeless people. Officials have considered investing $30 million to rehabilitate the park, and potentially sell off parts of the park to a private developer. The city has contemplated allowing a private firm to take over management and security of the park to help deal with the homelessness problem. 

Concepts for the area include the city selling the south or southwest edge of the park for a housing and commercial development, or a boutique hotel. Another involves building a large park amenity, described as a "regional attraction" that would draw visitors from across the state. City leaders are requesting proposals from private developers through the end of October.
New Jersey- Green Township officials have issued a request for expressions of interest for development opportunities involving the Trinca Airport. Once privately owned, the airport was sold to Green Township in the 90s. The property is over 105 acres, has an airstrip 1,924 feet in length and is currently used mostly for touchdown practices and model airplane events. 

Town officials say that they want to either increase the level of amenities at the facility to make it more of an attraction or develop the site for another use to serve the community. Nearby lands are more rural but include agriculture, low-density housing and industrial development. Those responding to the request should do so by Dec. 14.
New York- The state of New York has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to upgrade facilities at 27 different service stops along the 570-mile state Thruway. New York officials want a single operator for all 27 sites and expect the proposer to make significant capital investments and improvements at each location. The service stops will need to have electric vehicle charging stations, digital kiosks and food options for travelers. 

Sixteen sites will be ready for upgrades in 2020 and 11 others will be available in 2022. The RFP states that restaurant and motorist services generate a total of $118 million in annual business at all locations. Officials would like a lease agreement that extends until 2052 for the service stops. Proposals are due by Feb. 11.
Indiana- The Carmel Redevelopment Commission has voted to purchase the Moon Square shopping center for $15 million. The 8.7-acre property is currently home to the 75,000-square-foot center and its purchase will be funded by a portion of the city's $25 million 2017 bond. The city plans to partner with a private developer to redevelop the site into a mixed-use project, like the Carmel City Center. 

A few officials and residents have criticized the city for the purchase price, contending that other independent appraisals came in $3.5 million cheaper. Yet other council members stand by the decision, responding that the owner had other similar offers, some of which exceeded the $15 million mark.
Alaska- Anchorage is considering a public-private partnership to expand the cargo storage capacity of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The Alaskan hub ranks among one of the busiest airports in the world, with more than 1.34 million metric tons of cargo in only the first half of 2018. As the hub continues to grow, officials have expressed great interest in building a large warehouse for on-site air cargo storage. 

The airport is examining two possible sites. One would allow for a warehouse the size of six football fields. The new construction could potentially be supported by the Alaska Economic Development and Export Authority. The deadline for responses will likely be due in mid-December.
New Jersey- Rowan College at Burlington County issued a request for proposals for the reuse and the redevelopment of a campus property housing four major buildings and 11 parking lots. Academic classes were once held on the 225-acre Pemberton complex but have since been moved to the Mount Laurel campus. 

Buildings on the campus total around 350,000 square feet and parking lots have space available for nearly 2,000 vehicles. The property also includes a wooded area with a public access boat ramp that the college would like maintained by future developers. Additionally, the college prefers that proposers restore active use to the property sooner rather than a long period of inactive holding. A committee from the college will consider bids on Nov. 27.
Kansas- The Wichita Park Board is putting the MacDonald Golf Course up for sale. A request for proposals (RFP) is expected to go out this week. The board is seeking a buyer who will maintain the 146-acre course in central Wichita. MacDonald, one of the oldest of the city's five courses, lost about $134,000 last year. 

The RFP would close on Nov. 23, and the board wants to have an initial selection and begin negotiations by Dec. 10. MacDonald would be the second course the city removes from its golf system. Officials voted earlier this year to close Clapp Golf Course in southeast Wichita.
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Courtesy photo: City of Troy
New York- The city of Troy in November will unveil a new design for One Monument Square in hopes of peaking the interest of a developer. The design will include public space, views of the Hudson River, two levels of parking and and pedestrian connections down to the adjacent William D. Chamberlain Riverfront Park. The project would take place on 1.2 acres where city hall once stood. The area has been vacant for seven years. The public meeting and will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 5, at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St. in Troy. 

Some of the complications that can come with the property include: a 50-foot setback must be maintained by the city along sea wall at the river; the lower level has flooded in the past, and will probably again in the future; and there is an 18-foot change in grade between River Street and the lower level. There is also a large water line that passes through the site. If anything is built over it, the structure must allow enough access and clearance so that construction crews could perform maintenance or replace it someday.
Kansas- The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and Gateway Community and Technical College (GCTC) are considering entering into a public-private partnership (P3). The project is for a multi-year contract to provide classroom space, business incubator space, residential units, retail space as well as a restaurant. The project includes the designing, renovation, financing, operating, and maintaining of a building on GCTC property for efficiency in providing these facilities. The facility under consideration is an 86,224-square-foot building located at 19 Pike St. and 624 Madison Ave. in Covington. 

This property will be leased from KCTCS and GCTC to the developer. The address encompasses two 4-story structures which were originally constructed as a YMCA along Madison Avenue and a YWCA along Pike Street. Those buildings are constructed around, and appear to be structurally connected to the GTCT Bookstore and Administration Building. Those two structures have been renovated and were previously being used for leased offices. Additionally, a more modern 1-story addition has been constructed, originally to house racquetball courts, but is now being used for storage.The intent of this request for information (RFI) is to gather information to develop a request for proposals. Jan. 15 is the deadline to submit the RFI. 
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Texas- New Braunfels city officials are considering a new aviation master plan. The city is weighing several options, including the potential for a public-private partnership (P3) to realize its goals. An updated 20-year master plan will include doubling the length of the runway from 500 to 1,000 feet and dictating the timing, cost and funding of upcoming projects to increase use by corporate aircraft. 

Other options include a terminal expansion that will allow for restaurants and other businesses to operate in the terminal. The expansion option could be funded by a P3 or Federal Aviation Administration grant funds and airport improvement program grants. Cost estimates for the various options are being considered and should be finalized soon.
Minnesota- The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is actively seeking industry and transportation partners for its Connected and Automated Vehicle Challenge. The department's open request for proposals is aimed to fuel innovation that is poised to solve the policy, equity and social challenges surrounding the autonomous transportation revolution. Several contract awards are expected, with $2 million allocated this fiscal year and $3.5 million in 2020 and again in 2021. 

MnDOT plans to review each batch of proposals every two months, the deadline for the first cycle is Nov. 16. The second and third cycle deadlines are Jan. 18 and March 15. Persons interested in submitting proposals can request a pre-proposal meeting with MnDOT to discuss their ideas in person or by phone before making the proposal.
Maryland- Hagerstown Ice Amateur Athletic Association (HIAAA) officials have suggested that expanding the Hagerstown Ice and Sports Complex would meet the demands of a facility that is currently at capacity. The facility hosts around a dozen amateur and youth development programs and supports 18 adult hockey teams. The complex generated $161,000 last year. 

The city has interest in adding a second ice rink and possibly an indoor turf and plans to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a new indoor sports complex at one of three city sites. The city wants a firm or multi-firm teams to design, construct, operate and maintain the facility. The RFQ is due on Nov. 13.
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- Missouri officials have chosen Mike Cheles, a former chief information officer (CIO) for a guitar company, to be the state's new permanent CIO for the Information Technology Services Division. Cheles replaces Rich Kliethermes, who had led the state's information technology operations on an acting basis since 2015. The search for a permanent CIO had gone on since Tim Robyn resigned in November 2015. 
- The Asheville City Council hired Debra Campbell as Asheville's city manager. Since 1988, she's been employed by the city of Charlotte, N.C., most recently as the assistant city manager, since 2014. She will replace former manager Gary Jackson, the city's top staffer for 13 years. Asheville's assistant city manager Cathy Ball has been serving as the interim manager. 
- After 22 years working at Hagerstown Regional Airport, the last seven as director, Phil Ridenour plans to retire Oct. 31. He will continue to work on a part-time basis, possibly staying into February, to help the next director with the transition. Ridenour had previously worked as the airport's first fire chief. 
- Debra McCurdy will assume the role of president of Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) this spring after serving as president of Rhodes State College in Ohio for the last 11 years. McCurdy will succeed interim president James H. Johnson, Jr. in Spring 2019. Gordon F. May retired as president on June 30 after four years in the role. - Robert Harrington is the city of Houston's new economic development director. He fills a vacancy created when Brad Evans resigned in June as economic developer to return to the police department. Harrington was a former commercial and industrial asset manager for a development and investment company. He began his duties in early October. Ron Reed held the position from 1999 until he resigned at the beginning of 2017. Evans filled the role for three months beginning in March 2018. 
- Chris Kukulski, has been selected as Billings' next city administrator. Kukulski will begin his new position Nov. 16, which is around the time that the current city administrator, Bruce McCandless, plans to retire. Kukulski is currently the executive vice president in the financial technology industry. 
- Renee Tyler has been appointed as Dubuque's next director of transportation services. Tyler is currently the city's assistant public works director and will assume her new responsibilities on Nov. 5. She will replace Candace Eudaley-Loebach, whose resignation will be effective on Nov. 16. Tyler joined the city of Dubuque staff as assistant public works director in December 2016. 
- Nonprofit executive Hector Batista is the new CEO and president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. He succeeds Andrew Hoan who departed in May. As New York's largest and fastest-growing chamber, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce promotes economic development across the borough. Batista will lead all three arms of the organization, including its nonprofit branch, the Brooklyn Alliance, and its community development financial institution, Brooklyn Alliance Capital Inc. 
- New York City has named Kelly Jin its new chief analytics officer and director of the mayor's office of data and analytics. Jin has filled a position that has been vacant for a year. It was last held by Amen Ra Mashariki, who left the role for a job for a mapping software company. Before going to work for New York City, Jin was most recently the director of a philanthropic organization. 
- Nueces County commissioners voted to select the Corpus Christi Police Department's Lt. John Chris Hooper as the new sheriff. Hooper will replace Jim Kaelin, who announced last month that he was planning to retire at the end of October. Hooper, who has 37 years of law enforcement experience, will fill Kaelin's unexpired term, which has two more years left before the seat is up for re-election. 
- Clark Atlanta University President Ronald A. Johnson announced his resignation. He will remain as president until Dec. 7. Lucille H. Mauge will serve as the acting president until a new one is elected by the board. A national search has already begun for Johnson's replacement. Johnson had been name named president of Clark Atlanta University in July of 2015. He had previously been the dean of the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University. 
- Buncombe County commissioners have hired Donald Warn as the new finance director. Warn, who will begin his new duties Nov. 13, recently worked as administrative services director for the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District in Denver, where he oversaw finance, procurement and internal audit responsibilities. He will replace Tim Flora, who resigned four months ago.
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