If you want the scoop on the Flats, be sure to ask a resident of the Flats!
In the summer of 2002 3 people died by drowning in the river. The first was an accident, where a bar patron who was watching a fight was struck. He fell over the railing on the deck, hit his head on a boat and was found a few days later. The second was a party goer who fell into the river at Shooters after hours. He was urinating in the river when he fell in. The third was a dancer at the Cicus (now the hustler club) who hopped a fence at the river fire station with her boyfriend late night, fell in the river and died. These three deaths were all just a few weeks of each other.
The city did indeed crack down on violations right around that time in a surprise raid along the east bank, and closed a few for fire violations. This closed the bars for a few weekends and helped aid the perception that the flats were becoming unsafe.
The other factor that doesn't get much attention is the growth of the warehouse district took patrons from the flats and moved them up the hill.
As for the east bank project, you can get information on it through the Flats Oxbow Association website. The plan calls for everything north or Main Street to be leveled, a boardwalk placed along the river and Old River Rd being moved east in order to accommodate. The buildings will be replaced with a movie theater, grocery, first level shops/restaurants and condo/apartment units above them. A proposal was also made for inclusion to a replacement for the Defense Department DFAS center currently located downtown.
As for the West Bank, it still is and always has been the bomb and will continue to stay that way as long as I live there
I miss the old Mr. Ed's. I still hate the Beer Barrel. I'm diggin' Hooligans. And Mills isn't the only hot guy up there now with a bald head!