On Jan. 31, we heard the feel-good presentation on why we should spend $13 million to open up Front Street.
Several examples were presented of how other cities have opened their pedestrian malls, but few definite plans other than the proposed hotel and the old Falls Theater were presented for our city. Excitement was displayed about trees with leaves that become a maintenance headache every fall. Currently, festivals take the entire street width and length. Their proposal was to have patches of open lots for the festivals, with no mention of closing the street to normal vehicular traffic. Traffic lanes were not outlined to describe how visibility would be enhanced.
Parking issues were given some discussion, but only one parking garage was to be modified to permit access from Front Street. All others would have access only from Second Street, so the desired "drive through" the district would be interrupted by driving around the block with left turn congestion to find parking. Yes, there may be 85,000 cars daily on the freeway, but few of those are going shopping, but to work or other distant cities.
Stairs and elevators in the Green Deck were suggested. I only point to the poor condition of the current stairs and elevator in the Red Deck as a prime example of the current and potential future maintenance. Yes, with all the publicity and branding, Front Street might have a five-year life until it deteriorates to what we have now. If it succeeds, Mayor Walters will take full credit. If it fails, it will be City Council's fault for approving it. If I were on Council, I would want far more definitive plans from a developer who has serious money invested in the outcome, before I could vote for $13 million for a feel-good project.
Donald Nelsch,Cuyahoga Falls