OK, calm down.
It's in no one's interest for the city of Lexington, or anyone else, to fill in the hole that is the CentrePointe project downtown, and it's unlikely to happen.
After all, the assessed value of the block doubled — from $8 million to $16 million — after the hole was dug. This project has already destroyed enough value — economic, cultural and communal — over the last seven years. There's no need to add on.
It is in everyone's interest for the city to use the leverage it has to push the current owners, the Webb Companies and Joe Rosenberg and his family, to either do something on that block or sell it to someone who will.
City government did the right thing about this time last year when — before endorsing a new application for tax-increment financing to subsidize the project — it got a $4.4 million guarantee something would actually be built.
Under the contract, if there was no significant progress for 60 days the city could tell the developer to fill in the hole.
If there's still no action, the city can do the job and send a bill, guaranteed by a first mortgage on the property.
However, it's unlikely the city's goal was ever to see excavation for a four-story underground parking garage filled back in.
The area needs more off-street parking even now, and will need even more when 21C Museum Hotel opens, not to mention when the CentrePointe block itself is developed. But it's an important lever, one the city has now decided to use.
Good. Even though the developers deny the project has stalled, it has been a blight on downtown for way too long.
The Webbs and Rosenberg began tearing down a block of historic buildings the week of the 4th of July, 2008, despite huge protest and, as it turns out, no funds to build their proposed project.
Since then they have dug a deep hole, erected chain link fences and two huge cranes, and blocked parking places and sidewalks.
Some assail city action, saying that private property owners should be able to do, or not do, whatever they want.
But CentrePointe's dismal record has hurt surrounding businesses and made life harder for anyone coming to the area for business or pleasure.
It also endangers significant public and private investment in the area. The 21C owners are putting in $41 million across the street, the city is poised to commit $22 million to revive the Old County Courthouse a half block away.
The Vine Street side overlooks a central portion of the proposed Town Branch Commons project, which would add greenspace and water features downtown.
Lexington needs the parking, it needs the projects now underway to succeed and it is right to demand action.