Regarding Windy Hill’s requested extension to its Block 21 project for up to two additional years, I urge our city not approve it — without some mitigation to the impacts the delay will have on our downtown and residents (“Block 21 developers ask for planning extension” in the May 16 edition).
That enormous block could spend another two years empty, surrounded by a chain-link fence and sawed off tree trunks. Windy Hill isn’t obligated to landscape the perimeter for half a year while it sits like a gigantic scar in our downtown. Thirteen businesses were displaced or shuttered for this project, including historic businesses and many that serve lower income residents.
Windy Hill is also contemplating using the Builder’s Remedy next door to change that full-block project, Block 20, to a taller all-residential project.
They could win a lot of goodwill by helping the city with another dearly needed improvement. Why don’t they offer to fund the building of parklets to alleviate the high crown on our downtown pedestrian mall for the food businesses there? The city is proceeding with pedestrian mall improvement projects but creating a safer and more level street isn’t in the cards — parklets for those businesses would mitigate the high street crown. Together, with some donated labor (unions?), we could solve a problem with some creativity.
A move like this would dispose many citizens who are enduring this decadelong, block by block disruption of our city’s core to be much more amenable to the developers. Food for thought.
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