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City council’s response

To the editor:

Like many others who voted for the proposal to postpone the sale of the Lakeshore Drive parking deck, I am very disappointed by the response of the city council. Several members of the council asserted that nothing has been decided, so there is nothing to discuss at this point. But at least two important things were decided before the public had any chance for input.

The council decided to sell the parking lot parcel, and they decided to hire a developer to design what would be done with that parcel. The proposal approved by nearly 200 residents, 80% of those voting, asked that those two decisions be reconsidered, and that the public be invited to take part in an open process about the future of the property.

Available options that I would like to see discussed include not selling the parcel, or at least not selling it as a whole piece; eliciting concrete ideas from residents and current businesses about what sorts of development they would like to see and like not to see, not simply through a survey; researching processes followed by other small cities who have conducted successful downtown redevelopments that fully involved input from residents and businesses.

This is the kind of input the proposal was clearly asking for: “an open decision-making process about the future use of the property that explores other options besides a sale to a single private developer.”

In refusing to reconsider their decisions to sell the parking deck parcel to a single developer and continuing to ask the developer to propose a full design for the redevelopment, the city council seems intent on ignoring the clear request from the voters. They remain intent on selling the parking deck, and their idea of public input remains limited to merely allowing approval or minor tweaks to a developer’s “exciting ideas.”

I, for one, find Veridea’s ideas to be dismaying, and the City Council’s refusal to pursue other real options to be a rejection of their role as the voice of the community.

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