Is our new Comprehensive Plan "soft" and "huggy-feely"?
The campaign for Carbondale's Mayor and City Council is heating up. Last week WSIU's Jennifer Fuller interviewed the mayoral candidates. You can listen to the interviews here http://www3.wsiu.org/radio/morningconversation/ . I was particularly struck by mayoral candidate George Maroney's response to questions about the City's recently adopted Comprehensive Plan.
He said the Plan was "soft" and "huggy-feely." Perhaps he wasn't talking about the same plan I worked on for a year and a half. The Comprehensive Plan was adopted after the participation of hundreds of people -- local business people and prospective entrepreneurs, homeowners, landlords, students, and representatives of all the major institutions and organizations in the city. We invested thousands of hours and a sizeable chunck of city funds to create guidelines for the city's future growth and development.
The Plan is a guideline and not a set of rules. But it has the moral force of broad citizen participation and should be taken very seriously by city leaders.
The Plan lays out concrete steps the city needs to take to revitalize its business and residential districts. It provides clear guidelines for new development and redevelopment. Importantly, it is a bulwark against the cronyism that has bedeviled our community for so long.
Regarding Downtown revitalization: Mr. Maroney said, "Norman Rockwell died a long time ago. ... To me you would revitalize Downtown by letting it become a very nice student district. ... To try and develop it as anything else would be spinning wheels."
To the contrary, the Comprehensive Plan committee discussed at length the organic connections that can be developed between the Hospital, with its large number of visitors, and Downtown eateries and other shops and, potentially, an extended stay facility. It also recognized the natural linkage between the very popular Wine Trail and a revitalized Downtown entertainment district. Downtown revitalization has many other benefits, including synergies with the University, which are outlined in the Plan.In the same vein, I received a number of responses to my previous newsletter, with questions regarding my position on taxes, zoning, property renovation, and economic development. See my website http://www.adamscarbondale.org for my responses.
I welcome your queries. A campaign should be as much a conversation about our future as it is a presentation of a candidate's positions and promises. How else can you know what your representative stands for? And how can your representative (or prospective representative) know what citizens think is important and develop new ideas and insights for improving our town?
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