I am in favor of a pretty downtown as I am sure are most folks in the community. However, closing down the wing street could have a very negative effect on the businesses on that side of the street. It will also eliminate some very precious parking space, which is already at a premium in town.
Some progress is inevitable and sometimes can be painful. But possibly putting someone out of business for pretty is not pretty. As Martha Yoder said, “I want profit, not pretty.”
My initial response is yes, what a wonderful thing to do. The more walk space in any downtown is better. I have wondered, when walking around down by the bridge, why both sides hadn’t been done together. I think it would be aesthetically pleasing, safer and shopper friendly. But when I read about the concerns of the store owners, I think special attention must be paid to their concerns, as well. It is too easy to just do something without really understanding all the ramifications.
I think that it would be a great idea to block off the wing street. It is not necessary for traffic and it is a hazard. The whole area under the bridge could be used as an outdoor market. Local artisans could sell their wares, farmers could sell their produce and people could open food booths. The area has shade, it is centrally located and already has plenty of pedestrian traffic. Having an open-air market would draw more people to Glenwood and offer more choices for consumers. All the downtown businesses would benefit from increased foot traffic. Glenwood needs this a lot more than it needs another golf course.
The late sociologist and urbanist Lewis Mumford wrote, “Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends.” The expansion of the pedestrian promenade would be a delightful addition to downtown Glenwood. There are, however, the questions of traffic flow and delivery truck congestion on 7th and 8th streets and in the narrow alleys between Grand and Cooper. GAPP might make it convenient to tear up the street but does that mean Glenwood’s ready? This needs planning instead of a quick approval.
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