By Barbara Haller, Main South Community Development Corporation Board member, former District 4 City Councilor and Main South resident
The Main South CDC continues to work on strengthening its neighborhood in many rich and exciting ways. The MSCDC continues to manage a large portfolio of affordable and livable apartments and to support home ownership. The MSCDC is part of a growing community collaborative to improve educational outcomes of its children. In short: the Main South CDC is alive and kicking.
Bad News: The public altercation between the Main South’s CDC executive director Steve Teasdale and board member Billy Breault was regretful. If I could turn the clock back and make it not happen I surely would.
Steve has led the organization from the beginning. While progress in Main South has been all about teamwork, you would be heardpressed to find anyone who would deny that Steve – his dedication, intelligence, talent and controlled ego – is the leader of the pack that made it all happen.
Billy has been the voice of public safety and neighborhood development. He is both a leader and a cheerleader for Main South. He lives in Main South. His parents lived in Main South. He is tried and true in his burning loyalty to his neighborhood and City. He was Chair of MSCDC Board for many years and always a Board member. He has represented the MSCDC very well.
But lines were crossed last month when Billy verbally attacked and threatened Steve – first in a voice mail and then in the MSCDC parking lot. The partnership broke, the team fell apart. The media were notified and fed information, it became a “story” to be reported. The reasons for anger and extreme hostility? Who ever really knows why these things happen, but there was mention of unsafe intersection in the neighborhood where Billy’s partner’s family was injured, there was mention of the painfully drawnout federal audit of the MSCDC’s use of block grant, there was mention of the MSCDC’s involvement in Main South Promise Neighborhood, there was mention of the MSCDC’s pending sale of 93 Grand Street. So it appears that this outburst had been festering for some time.
As an active Board member of the MSCDC I can assure everyone that neighborhood outreach continues to keep residents, businesses, and partners informed and engaged. Likewise I affirm that the MSCDC is finding ways to address the troublesome intersection, is engaged in getting to the final needs of the federal audit, is committed to strong partnership in Main South Promise Neighborhood, and is working on the sale of 93 Grand Street to stabilize the MSCDC’s financial position on this property. All with Board knowledge and support. No secrets, no misconduct.
Those of us connected to the Main South CDC and to Billy Breault are saddened. Both are good. Both make great contributions to our City. Together isn’t working anymore. But life will go on. The Main South CDC will survive. Billy will find new ways to boost Main South.