I'm a little suspect of the input of 750 people since I attended the meetings on the "jordan valley gateway" project of which only 23 people attended. I was only counting the people not associated with the city, a city department, or the organization hired for the project.
Council Passes Resolution on New Square Designs
In a special session held today, City Council passed a resolution to move ahead with the first phase of the proposed redesign of Park Central Square. (Download a PDF explaining the design. 6.5 mb) The new design was created by local architectural firm Butler, Rosenbury & Partners after a public input process.
Architect Tim Rosenbury was on hand to answer Council members’ questions about the design. He said during the input phase, more than 750 members of the public identified six key qualities a new Park Central Square should have. They said it should recognize downtown as an emerging entertainment district, it should be able to be enjoyed all types of people, it should have easy access for all, it should be an active and lively space, it should recognize downtown as an emerging residential district, and it should recognize Springfield’s history in some way.
Rosenbury also explained the four phases of the project. The first phase is the inner portion — the square itself. This would be paid for by a federal grant of that has already been secured. The second phase is the outer “corners” of the space, which is essentially the sidewalk area that extends to the buildings on the Square. The third phase is the “spokes” of roadway extending from the Square for one block east and west and a half block north and south. The fourth possible phase includes a pavilion in the center of the Square. The Urban Districts Alliance is taking the lead to look for possible private funding sources for the outer corners and the pavilion/canopy, while the “spokes” are already identified for eventual funding through the City’s ongoing streetscape improvements.
Councilman Dan Chiles raised concerns about changing a space that was designed by Lawrence Halprin, a famed landscape architect. He suggested waiting to approve a design until Halprin could be consulted. Other Council members expressed a desire to move ahead, as the City’s agreement with Heer’s Tower developer Kevin McGowan states that the City must begin construction on a new Park Central Square by Aug. 1. McGowan sent a letter via e-mail (72k PDF) to Council today urging them to pass the resolution. Architect and downtown property owner Allen Casey also send a letter to City manager Bob Cumley (71k PDF) in support of the design. Downtown developer Scott Tillman (College Station) and Urban Districts Alliance board president Nancy Dornan spoke to express support for the new design.
The resolution was approved 7-1, with Councilman Chiles voting against. Mayor Tom Carlson was not present. You can watch the meeting in its entirety on our Web site via TV23.
posted by Mike Brothers, Public Information