by TOTHEEDITOR@INLANDER.COM & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & E & lt;/span & ditor's Note: Several readers responded to "What's Next", 12/13/07, Ted S. McGregor Jr's column about revising the Downtown Spokane Plan.
Public Market and More
I think you outlined some important things that need to be done with the Downtown Plan.
I live downtown, in the first warehouse transformed into condos. This is my front yard, my neighborhood. So I care a great deal about it.
1. Arrival into Spokane: What tells you that you are entering an interesting place? Other cities have freeways and manage to be welcoming. Where is the green? The signs telling you what awaits you?
2. Transportation: Street cars or trolleys. The route needs to be inclusive, not a five-block walk to stops, that essentially serves only the U District and Kendall Yards. (This was proposed some time ago as a copy of Portland). Then it could eventually go to the hospitals. My first choice of a route would be from the MAC around Browne's Addition, through the southern part of the downtown to the U District, then going on major streets east and west, finally crossing the river to hit the North Bank, and back again.
3. My favorite, since I am on the committee to establish one: Year-round public market, with farmers, artisans, kitchen, caf & eacute;/coffee shop. A happening place, much like what you want in a public square, only more so. Not trash and trinkets or fast food of the corporate sort -- local. Someplace people want to go and linger. I think it needs to be in the middle of downtown... Jensen Byrd building is not close enough, in my view. It negates the attraction of Riverfront Park, the falls, the athletic events and the Gorge Park.
We don't need to put all of our eggs in one basket, but the park seems natural to me to be the center of everything.
4. Yes! People living downtown. We need a mix of ages, incomes, jobs, etc. And street trees everywhere. Make it comfortable.
Priorities? Year-round public market and trees first! Then fill in with the rest.
Public/Private investment. And a vast turnaround at City Hall about what can be done, not what the book says.
It took us three years to get an address -- three years! We didn't fit the parameters of what the cookbook said, and City Hall wasn't willing to bend.
Thank you for the chance to express myself. I did answer the questionnaire at the meeting, but so much more comes to mind.
Give us a Grocery Store!
Enjoyed reading your excellent article, well thought out.
I would like to see a supermarket-type grocery store right in the downtown area that could serve so many living throughout this city. Rosauers is too far west, taking care of that neighborhood, but many [downtown] need a good grocery store and not the typical 7-11 type that also sells gasoline. And it's too bad that all those who want to build apartments and condos can't consider many who cannot afford these upscale units. Sure, housing is expensive but there has to be a break for lower-income folks who drive 6- to 10-year-old cars, not new BMWs and the like!
Downtown Spokane can and should make available apartments and living quarters for Mr. and Mrs. average person, along with a decent grocery store nearby.
Thanks for the interesting article.
Build an Indian Museum
I found your commentary "What's Next" interesting. There are a lot of ideas floating around to improve downtown and the one I particularly like is the Indian Museum by Spokane Falls. Many years ago when Salty's went belly up, the Spokane Tribe went before the City Council and asked for the lease to create a museum that would highlight the vibrant and diverse Northwest Indian culture and history. It would not only be a tourist attraction, but [something] our children could benefit from. The Council decided the Tribe's request came too late and instead leased the site to Anthony's. The museum concept has never become a reality, but it has my interest.
I'm sure Spokane would benefit from a center that shows Spokane's history to its fullest in one location with shops, music and shows. I've been to some museums in Alaska that have all this and more. With the tribe's willingness to finance and run something like this, I think it's an idea to take seriously.
Paul Will Preserve Freedom
I am writing in response to Edward Thomas Jr. (12/27), where he claimed in a recent letter to The Inlander that Ron Paul is a "favorite of the ignorant" because he worked to end the military draft. Where do ideas like that come from? Rush Limbaugh?
The military draft is simply slavery. Slaves make inferior soldiers compared to volunteers. Conscription is an ancient tyrannical idea, hostile to a free society.
The United States started out as a free society, but we have sacrificed many freedoms in the name of security, and we have allowed ourselves to become overrun by a few elite, wealthy bureaucrats. Dr. Paul has done a marvelous job of pointing out what we are losing, including our freedoms, our wealth, our jobs, and our national sovereignty.
The truly ignorant are those who accept the notion that we must sacrifice freedom for security, which is exactly what we have been doing for too many years. Dr. Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who has the vision and the experience to reverse this disastrous trend!
The Inlander erred in printing a letter from Michae'l Elaine Alegria without her permission in our 12/27/07 edition. We regret the mistake and apologize to Ms. Alegria.