One of outgoing Mayor Joseph Wilders’ best-received programs was his initiative to remove outdated ordinances from the city’s legal code (first item). However, the gratitude of the populace at no longer being required to maintain the lower edge of their moustaches above the upper lip (1871) eventually proved to have a negligible effect on his re-election prospects. Nonetheless, taking her cue from the popularity of her predecessors program, Mayor-elect Maribeth Cosgrove has announced her own initiative designed to streamline and economize the way the city does business.
To demonstrate her intention to cut costs, budgets, bureaucracy, taxes and red-tape, Mayor-elect Cosgrove has announced that her administration will no longer award special recognition – and the more liberal interpretation of parking, construction and zoning regulations that thus applies – to city neighborhoods officially designated as “quarters.” In addition, the roster of recognized city “quarters” will be rolled back to the level established in 1982, when the Hospitality Quarter became the fifth such city neighborhood to be so recognized.
“I believe that five quarters are sufficient for any municipality” reads the critical line in the Mayor-elect’s press release dated November 24, 2008. Other city “Quarters” to be grandfathered in under the new policy: The Belgian Quarter (1939), the Brewery Quarter (1945), the Manufacturing Quarter (1957), and the Fashion Quarter (1972). The oldest and most well-established quarter to be eliminated: the Research Quarter (1986), a loose collection of related businesses that once supplied electronic equipment to NASA, designated in the wake of the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy. Amongst others to be eliminated: Buccaneer Quarter (1988), Flannel Quarter (1994), Fourth Financial Sports Arena Quarter (2005).
One south-side neighborhood likely to remain unaffected by the Mayor-elect’s quarter-scythe, much as it has withstood government influence from dozens of municipal administrations over the past 165 years, is the area known as the “Concupiscence Quarter” (1843). The “Cups Quarter,” as it is informally known, has (with good reason) never been given official recognition by the city. Although an unofficial city “quarter,” it is expected to continue to receive favorable interpretation of existing city regulations by more traditional methods – those made possible by its high revenues and the unique and confidential services it provides to many city, county and state government officials.
- David Andrews