Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Downtown Open Space Plan:Some Good, Some Bad

At first glance, the Downtown Partnerships new Open Space Plan looks good. While the downtown district has many smaller parks, it lacks large open, green space that can be utilized by workers, residents, visitors, etc. While, I haven't had the chance to dive into everything, a few things already have come to mind.

  1. The plan for existing parks like Preston Gardens, Hopkins Place, and Liberty Place are excellent. They are underutilized, and could be much improved. The alterations and additions to Preston Gardens are extremely positive.
  2. The idea of turning the whole Arena site into a large park is misguided. I don't see the point, and I think it's waster real estate. The full plan gives four alternatives that turn some of the space into smaller parcels to develop, along with a park. This is the alternative I would select.
  3. I don't fully agree with turning over undeveloped land to park space. In the case of 1 Light St, it's tantamount to throwing in the towel. It's already an outrage that the old Southern Hotel was torn down for the sake of progress when it could have been repurposed (where was CHAP then?), and now we're stuck with a parking lot. Something should be build on that property, so we can at least saw it wasn't torn down for nothing (although it really was).
  4. The Downtown Partnership should really focus on improving what is already there, making them more useful, multi-purpose, and attractive. People should know where they are, how to get there, which green spaces and parks are near what, and what can they do when they get there.
I look forward to diving into the details in the next couple days. In the meantime, tell us what you think!

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