Houghton needs to take heed
To the editor:
Please, City Fathers and Mothers of Houghton, please take heed of Traverse City! Do not get in the trap of following its disasters! Multi-story buildings, condos, and hotels line their waterfront blocking access to the water front, limiting public parking, and blocking views for older resident and business buildings away from the waterfront.
Regarding Houghton’s “new town square” as mentioned in the 7/27 Gazette story: Does the Houghton/Hancock area really NEED another hotel and how does it fit into the idea of “a new town square,” an area that should appeal to all of our local residents? Do we want more MULTI-STORY buildings on the waterfront blocking views of businesses up the hill and possibly more public access? A rooftop garden is lovely, but how many “locals” would have access to it?
A “town square” implies a gathering place, a space, for folks of all ages and economic levels. It could include a mix of small businesses such as a deli, coffee house, ice-cream parlor, laundry facilities, office and art supplies, and a book store along with accessible, easy parking. But, importantly, there should be inviting areas for chatting and enjoying the waterfront; benches, bike racks, and perhaps more gazebos. This would be a real “town square” which might appeal to local residents of all ages and income levels as well as students and our winter and summer visitors (bikers, skiers, snomobilers, sailors). And, of course, the biking/hiking trail is an absolute necessity.
In addition, how does the plan for this “new town square “ with additional multi-story buildings affect the long-range needs for eventual expansion of our library which is overflowing?