Is there not one businessperson in this city who doesn’t have some type of contract with Louisville Metro Government?

Just one person, that’s all we need.

In his infinite wisdom, Mayor Greg Fischer has appointed Milton Haskins to the Downtown Development Review Overlay board of directors.

Who is Milton Haskins? That’s what we wanted to know when we got the city news release about his appointment.

Haskins is CEO of HDDS Inc. in Louisville.

HDDS Inc. is a multi-discipline Computer-Aided Design-Drafting and consulting firm, providing architectural, structural, civil, mechanical and sanitary engineering drafting services. HDDS also specializes in Existing Facilities Conditions Documentation services.

As you can see below, Haskins’ company has done quite a lot of business with the city. (He has been on the Greater Louisville Inc. board for several years.)

This list of completed projects is old (the company’s website is dreadfully outdated by about 10 years), but here are some of the jobs his firm has done for the city:

Clarksdale, Beecher Terrace and Avenue Plaza – Heating and Domestic Water Replacement
Clarksdale – Bathroom Exhaust Renovation
Louisville Federal Building – Renovation
Parkway Place – Bathroom Renovation
MSD Hite Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant – ADA Renovation
MSD Cable Street Maintenance Div. 151 – New Locker Room and ADA Renovation
MSD Cable Street Maintenance Div. 151 – Parking Lot Renovation Project
MSD Cable Street Maintenance Div. 151 – Natural Compressed Gas Station
MSD Central Maintenance Facility – Renovation
MSD CDM Building – Renovation
MSD Morris Forman Administration Building – ADA Restroom Renovation
MSD Morris Forman Wastewater Treatment Plant – ADA Restroom Renovation
MSD Morris Forman Administration Building – Digitizing Original Construction Documents
University of Louisville – Academic Building
University of Louisville – A/E MDR Phase III Renovation of Sixth Floor
University of Louisville – Chiller Replacement Project, Phase II
University of Louisville – Chemistry Building Ventilation Improvement
University of Louisville – Fire Alarm System Replacement
Central High School – Football Stadium New Facilities and Renovation
MSD – Corporate Headquarters Space Planning
Commonwealth Convention Center – Expansion Project

On his application, Haskins acknowledges that he currently has business pending with the city.

The Downtown Development Review Overlay board has something of a sensitive role in development (see the explainer at the end of this post) and circumventing its scrutiny could benefit developers and/or the contractors who get millions in city contracts each year.

In the 2010 general election, Haskins gave Fischer $400 and an additional $200 to the Fischer “inaugural fund.”

But in the primary, he kicked in $250 to David Tandy.

Noteworthy: David Tandy is the Metro Council representative on this board.

This year Haskins’ firm has done some preliminary design work on the Ohio River Bridges Project with the East End Bridge and some “right-of-way” work.

Haskins was on the short list to accompany Mayor Fischer on his now-infamous trip to Washington D.C. in May, 2012.

Haskins might be a fantastic guy. He might be a high-achieving businessman who has built most his success without riding government contracts. He might be really interested in the Downtown Development Review Overlay board’s work.

But he might be just another well-connected insider getting another appointment to a city board, and that’s something we are really, really sick of around here.

About the Downtown Development Review Overlay:  The Downtown Development Review Overlay was established by the City of Louisville Board of Aldermen in 1992. The committee’s function is “to preserve, conserve and protect the ‘historical, cultural, architectural, aesthetic or other distinctive areas’ of Downtown by the reviewing proposed developments in accordance with established principles and guidelines addressing elements such as ‘building setbacks along streets, open space, off-street parking, landscaping, paving, lighting and streetscape furnishings, fences and walls, signage and public amenities and, in addition, elements of urban design such as building and street wall character, and building mass and form.’ “

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Brian Tucker is a lifelong Louisvillian. He is the founder of The Valley Report, and has been writing on Southwest Louisville's political environment for several years.

9 thoughts on “Brian Tucker: Is Milton Haskins yet another well-connected Louisville insider getting a plum political appointment?

  1. With all these really “smart” people serving the city in one capacity or another why can’t anyone fix the dead zone on 4th st. We start out at 4th & Broadway with the beautiful Brown Hotel and several nice restaurants then go into what can only be described as urban decay at it’s worse and then back to something our city is proud of from the Seelbach to the river. What is the city thinking? How many boards does it take to fix this?????

  2. With all these really “smart” people serving the city in one capacity or another why can’t anyone fix the dead zone on 4th st. We start out at 4th & Broadway with the beautiful Brown Hotel and several nice restaurants then go into what can only be described as urban decay at it’s worse and then back to something our city is proud of from the Seelbach to the river. What is the city thinking? How many boards does it take to fix this?????

  3. If you’re in the design field and have an interest in urban issues the DDRO addresses, it’s highly likely that you also pursue work for the city. If Mr Haskins weren’t so experienced I’d be more worried…

  4. I would think to avoid any possible conflicts of interest his company should be prohibited from bidding on any work that the board has reviewed! I’m sure he wouldn’t consider taking the position if this was a stipulation. That would certainly demonstrate his motives.

  5. I would think to avoid any possible conflicts of interest his company should be prohibited from bidding on any work that the board has reviewed! I’m sure he wouldn’t consider taking the position if this was a stipulation. That would certainly demonstrate his motives.

  6. Sounds like he knows what he’s doing. It’s pretty hard to do business in town without at least some contact with metro government. Beats giving jobs to people without expertise.

  7. Sounds like he knows what he’s doing. It’s pretty hard to do business in town without at least some contact with metro government. Beats giving jobs to people without expertise.

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