Friday, January 18, 2008

City Planning

Thursday evening found me braving the elements (single digit temps) to attend a City Planning meeting. There were five presentations/action groups presented over three hours- you could attend three of your choice (one per hour.)

The first one was a Keynote (Powerpoint) presentation from a branding firm. Their thing was creating a multi-use logo or brand for cities, used to coordinate and exploit a cities' self-promotion. They were some nice fellows from South Carolina, they showed a bunch of logo themes they had done for a variety of small towns across the United States. (Prophecy: Ours will be an Orange Jack-o-lantern.)

The second hour was spent in a discussion group (one of five) that had gathered to suggest ideas for the future of two areas in the city. One area consisted of two 40 acre fields (see photo above) that adjoin the new library and the Rum River Trail. There was a table of developers who wanted to put in high-rise condos and a strip mall (there are three half-empty strip malls within a mile of the site already) but most folks thought it would be a good idea just to let them be. The other area was a commercial district that had lost out to the new mega-shopping complex, no easy solutions there, although the idea came up of tying new development to a nearby hospital complex.

The third hour was a look at residential property, a kind of pointless effort in that the housing market is undergoing a huge convulsion right now (maybe you've heard something about it?) Our city is "affordable" meaning older, smaller homes. With people defaulting on big loans on their McMansions it's pretty easy to see where they will end up- here. It looks as if it will take about 7 to 10 years before things pick up again, just in time for us to sell out- to facilitate our move to the poor house.

By Professor Batty


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