"Given that the city building would be moving such a short distance, and that the Marting's building is only one of dozens of buildings, I don't think that qualifies as a one-shot solution," said Della Rucker, a planner with the Cincinnati-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
She went on to explain, "A one-shot solution implies that you do one thing, and then everyone waits around for something magic to happen and fix everything. Building a mall or a convention center, or even a streetscape, and then doing nothing else and assuming everything you want will just happen - that's a one-shot solution.
"The key is in the assumption: If the assumption is 'If we do this one thing and that will make everything else that we want happen,' that is a one-shot solution."
She said, from her "outsider's perspective," moving city facilities and employees up Chillicothe Street into a vacant building "is akin to recruiting any new office user of a significant size: It increases the daytime population in the central business district, and it may increase the number of visitors.
"This should increase the potential demand for restaurants, services and other (forms of new business)."
Rucker's statements were in an e-mail sent to city officers in response to comments from a story in Friday's Daily Times by Portsmouth City Councilman Bob Mollette.
Third Ward Councilman Mollette, in a letter to Mayor Jim Kalb, pointed out the report by the Jacobs firm said revitalizing downtown is never the job of city government, and it "warns us that one-shot solutions have never worked."
He said he wanted to assure himself "and the taxpayers that the proposed City Center and Justice Center is a workable solution and not a one-shot solution."
City Council is proposing to locate city offices from the current deteriorating municipal building on Second Street to one floor of the Marting's building - called the City Center - and have two or more floors used by new businesses.
The Justice Center - to be built on Washington Street, where the former Adelphia Communications building is now - would house the municipal courts and police department.
The municipal building and land then would be offered to the highest bidder for development of a hotel or convention center.
The City Center and Justice Center plan - and its $12-million price tag - must be approved by voters when it's placed on the November general election ballot.
Kalb also quoted the Jacobs report.
"It tells us that the plan can be successful," he said, "if it gives the people a strategy to make something happen. But the plan is worth only the paper it's written on if the community's people do not carry it forward."
But he said he believes the citizens of Portsmouth "can, and will, come together to wholeheartedly support the plan for a City Center and Justice Center."
Rucker said the "one-shot solution" quoted by Mollette was in the Jacobs report introduction.
"It was in response to an assumption that we heard from the public feedback that indicated there was somewhat of a prevailing belief that 'the government' ought to make downtown revitalization happen, and that the government could do that single-handedly," she said. "The point of that text, when you read the entire section, is that all aspects of the city have an important role in helping to revitalize downtown Portsmouth, and that the government cannot do it alone."
She concluded although the city can't do everything single-handedly, "a little farther down in the introduction to the strategic plan, it's noted that the city does have several critical roles to play in downtown revitalization.
"Channeling its capital resources to the downtown area is one strategy that cities frequently pursue. A large number of small cities and counties in recent years have either built or renovated buildings within their downtown area to house their administrative functions," she said.
She listed Newport, Ky., Piqua and the Clinton County offices in downtown Wilmington, as examples.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.