Letter: Park and hotel can exist
The idea of a stand-alone park at the crossroads of our small town may conjure up idyllic reveries of gurgling water, a large, grassy expanse dotted with shade trees, picnics on the green, flowers and children running and playing. This may be what the proponents of “no development” on the Pan and Fork site have in mind.
To my thinking, a manicured, active and populated park is the result of considerable thought, planning and expense. It needs constant maintenance and cleanup to keep its attractive appearance. Without proper nighttime lighting and activity, a park can easily devolve into an unsafe, unsavory place. Successful neighborhood parks are often located inside a perimeter of homes and businesses, but a park that’s located at the edge of town, bordered by a two-lane road with an embankment, a river and another triangle of a park? To me, that doesn’t seem like such a wise proposition.
We have an opportunity for the park space to partner with an enterprise that will, when completed, provide a small population of homeowners and a hotel. Both will be important to maintaining day-round, year-round presence to ensure the vitality and safety of the park. In addition, the hotel will provide such amenities as restaurants and outdoor spaces to add to the enjoyment of the riverpark experience. The 2.9-acre park portion running along the river is already assured. And in case you’re not satisfied that this is enough, you will find another large parcel of park on the west bank of the river extending almost to the library. This parcel, which is rarely mentioned in discussion, is slated to include a fire pit, a story tree, constructed wetland, ADA access to the river and more riverfront access.
With the above thoughts in mind, I support the concept of a small boutique hotel and a reasonable number of residences on the development parcel of the Pan-Fork.
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