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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Pie In the Sky, Here's Mud In Your Eye

I promise you, I haven't started drinking, yet. I have to get me one of those automatic martini mixers, so I can blog while it shakes. On second thought, maybe that's a bad idea.

Just having returned from tonight DMP meeting at the library, I found I could speak unopposed. No other bloggers seemed to spoke, but John M of CHPN introduced himself after the meeting. I'll post my remarks later, but what was more interesting to me there was a great deal of skepticism expressed during the meeting. I personally found the plan breathtaking, but the price tag on this is going to make the 6th Street Marketplace look like small change. I saw many things I liked, like a pedestrian bridge across the James, but there was no funding mechanism for this pipedream that would take hundreds of acres of prime real estate off the market in hopes of some future dream that will never be realized. I believe the authors must have been drinking a good deal more than I am when this was written.

Mayo Island, the home of a proposed $250,000,000 (I think I got the zeroes right.) development, off the books. Echo Harbor was mysteriously referenced in the plan, much to the chagrin of the presenter.

This city need jobs, residents and a broader tax base. Does anybody think their tax bill is to low? To take our most valuable development resource completely off the city's tax base is ludicrous.

Let's take a realistic look at our city's present and future. We have the best, THE BEST (I learned that from Don.) urban river park system in the country and it's just crying for better funding. The solution is not to double the size of the park, it is to take advantange of our most valuable resource and capitalize on it. Not by destroying it, but making it accessable to all. Not everyone is a mountain biker or even fully able to use the park and enjoy the river. There's around 950,000 Richmonder's in and around the city (yes I realize what I said), 850,000 of whom have never been to the river, set a toe in it or walked along its banks.

Why can't we, don't we have beautiful shops, condos and paved paths along parts of the north and south shores. The occasional midrise condo tower is not going to offend anybody except those lucky few who have unobstructed views of the river. I'm not talking about a wall of concrete. I'm talking about well designed attactive mixed use developments. We need to draw people to this city. It's not meant for the fit few. This is a chance to renew this city from the inside out, not using public dollars needed for schools or police. We can create something beautiful that will last for generations. Let's do it right.

OK, I believe my blood alcohol is over the limit. I'm going to have to sign off before I get cited for BWI.

Wish you were here.

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