EDITOR’S DESK: Missing the ‘steak holders’
Judging by the smallish turnout at the first “stakeholder” meeting for the “Westside Avenue Action Plan” Aug. 6, a number of folks who might have participated were instead being “steak holders” (i.e., barbecuing). Well, it's your call, of course. On a balmy summer evening, if given the choice between one,
grilling/chilling in the great outdoors or two, submitting to hours of facilitator-driven discussion with special-interest advocates and government officials, I suppose most of us would readily choose number one.
But let's look at this another way. Those of you who may have disdained attending that meeting - and perhaps will disdain others as this $300,000 study runs its 10-month course - will eventually have to deal with the consequences of decisions made by others. Because the idea is for this study to be used as direction for major reconstruction along the avenue west of 31st Street. If you know something that's being overlooked, this is the time to say so. Or at the very least to come and listen and from that to assist in shaping alternate views.
For my part, I'm already perplexed about some aspects of this study. For instance, the naming thing. On the one hand, the consultants announced (without public input) that homing in on a better name than "No Man's Land" would not be part of the effort. Then on their own they dubbed the study the "Westside Avenue Action Plan," when everybody knows the full avenue covers a much larger swath. So it's confusing. They also decided (again on their own) not to seek answers on annexation, when multi-jurisdictionality is the culprit for many of the problems. Moreover, the consutants seemed ignorant of a study six years ago that declared that same area blighted. A pretty key oversight, considering the urban renewal implications.
Anyway, it's your call, steak holders. A little pain now? Or a lot of pain in years to come?