Friday, November 18, 2005

Highland Square Follow-up

[Edited to correct significant error]

I had heard that Mayor [Ken] Don Plusquellec made a surprise appearence at the Highland Square Neighborhood Association meeting last week, and stomped out in a huff. The ABJ didn't have a reporter there (probably too many people writing Cynthia George preview stories), but the West Side Leader did:

After being called out onto the floor by attendees, Plusquellic spent about 30 minutes handling comments and answering questions before abruptly leaving when a man in the audience accused him of “trying to ruin” Highland Square.

In a mostly gracious and civil discourse with residents, Plusquellic countered Hudson’s assertion that Highland Square needs less, not more, parking by saying there is some level of need for parking in Akron’s urban environment because public transportation is not utilized in this part of the country as it is in other cities.
A friend of mine who was the impertinent questioner says the actual quote was "Why are you trying to ruin our neighborhood?" He also says the tension in the room was considerably higher than the WL Leader describes.

The main issue is parking -- how much and where. The New Urbanist acolyte who was speaking made his point by contrasting Wrigley Field (no parking lot, integrated into the neighborhood) with Comiskey U.S. Cellular Field (an island in a sea of concrete.)

You can actually find an example closer to home. On a summer night, compare Mary Coyle's and Angel Falls in the Square with Zach's and Coco's Coffee up the street. Zach's and Coco's have business, but they have little walk-up traffic and the cafe seating at Coco's is almost always empty. They are in no way a part of the surrounding neighborhood. The difference? The expanse of asphalt in front of the Zach's/Coco's strip mall.

People just don't want to hang in a parking lot.


Anonymous said...

I think the mayor of Akron is Don Plusquellic, not Ken:

Scott Piepho said...

You are right. Ken Plusqullec worked in the Dean's Office in my undergrad college. My brain likes to switch the first names when I'm not looking. Thanks for catching it.

peppermintlisa said...

look for more hindsight about the meeting and about HSNA's future initiatives; I'll post something soon. And the HS web site should (hopefully) soon reflect new info, too.