Remember how Pioneer Courthouse Square was fenced off for a face-lift last year? Remember how you hoped for water slides and a goat petting zoo? Well, now it's "done"—except nothing's changed. Did we just pay millions to rent construction fencing for a year? —Feeling Fleeced.
It wasn't the fencing that cost all that money, Fleeced, it was the yearlong, drug-fueled bacchanal that took place inside it.
Surely you remember? How we diverted the entire 2014 parks replacement bond to an offshore account? And then spent all $68 million on a 5-foot statue of the elephant god Ganesha made out of pure MDMA? And all the city's political and media figures had that huge rager, and swore not to tell the public because…
Oops, never mind. (The fucked-up thing is that now there's some dude on Breitbart who thinks that really happened.) Anyway, here's the real story.
I don't know if anyone close to you has ever had a face-lift, but if so, you may have noticed that it's not a process of outfitting the face with flashy new features, like antlers or brushed-aluminum eyebrows. Instead, they take a face that's pretty gnarly and busted and try to restore it to its former glory.
So it was with Pioneer Courthouse Square. You might not have noticed, since you've probably been getting pretty gnarly and busted yourself, but the square was kind of falling apart.
Those terra-cotta columns to nowhere were crumbling, the waterproofing under the bricks was failing, and some of the bricks themselves needed to be replaced—more of a headache than you might imagine, since most of them have people's names on them from the long-ago "buy a brick" campaign that funded the square in the first place.
The whole schmear came in under $10 million—not terrible for a public works project—and officials claim that each and every named brick that got removed was replaced with a new one bearing the same inscription "in a similar location."
If Breitbart guy wants to fact check that assertion, he's welcome to do so. Given that there are more than 80,000 of these bricks, I'm inclined to take their word for it.