Saturday, May 13, 2017

Actually, I always liked the berms

There are a couple of interesting quotes from Kurt Weigle in this story about the re-make of Duncan Plaza. City Council recently agreed to a lease with the Downtown Development District whose plans for managing the park include a redesign. It appears this is being done so that the park can be a better venue than Lafayette Square for hosting whatever Fried Chicken Festivals of the Future may come along.
“Lafayette Square has really taken a beating in the last 10 years or so because it’s such a wonderful space and a lot of people want to use it for events. But it was never designed to be that type of a park,” Weigle said.
Fine, I guess. But just say that. The sidebar rationalization about perceived safety issues is embarassing.
“A definite problem right now is the berms in the middle that obstruct the views into and out of the park,” Weigle said. “It contributes to a sense that the park is not safe, despite the fact that I can’t remember any incident (of crime) in the park.”
Do the berms make the park unsafe? Well, no, but just say that it feels crimey or whatver. That should get us more space to put the vendors' booths. Anyway, it's fine. They're probably correct. Duncan Plaza does seem like a more suitable and open space to fit the crowds drawn by the 8-10 new random food item festivals we're manufacturing every year now.

As long as they're planning to keep the public space there open to the public, there's no reason to complain. Recall that only a few years ago, the city cleared out a homeless encampment from the park just ahead of preparations to host Super Bowl XLVII. Since then, it's become a prominent gathering space for the increasing number of public protests one sees here in the Time Of Trump.

Big crowd
Inauguration Day "J20" Protest

Weigle says the plan is to maintain the status quo there.  But let's make sure we keep this quote handy as this process moves along just in case.
“It’s fair to say that this agreement would not be in place if we had not made a commitment to continue to support that kind of activity in the park,” Weigle said.

“Being someone who loves that part of what it means to be an American, I’d never look to curtail that in any way,” he added. “It’s something we’re looking to celebrate along with all the other uses in the park.”

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