River Walk meeting



Newton White <NWhite0@cfl.rr.com>
12:20 PM

to undisclosed recipients

As I read the land swap plan for River Walk I have concerns that are not answered, some are old others new.
The largest concern for me is the lack of a complete plan. As I have said before I think it is wrong to approve any change or thing until their is a clear plan for the  entire region. This land deal would create an obvious three sections with HRP in the center of the city owned north and south parcels.
Doing this plan and allowing the vague term of Multi Use knowing only that a restaurant and marina are planned it leaves the city to respond to what HRP wants to build. Our vision of a park and scenic walkway along the river the length of the project will be controlled by the multi use developments in the large center section.
I urge great caution in approving this as I feel it is a “pig in a poke” it could be a prize jewel or a worthless chunk of coal. We could be blocked or choked off from water access or views. This only allows a walkway that will be very narrow when you consider the ADA requirements and that protected mangroves, vegetation and environmental concerns are considered. I have made the analogy before about winding up with a jigsaw puzzle that looks like it was assembled from parts of different boxes. That is undoubtedly what will evolve if anything is started without a single plan with a great picture on the top of the single box as a guide.
While there are concerns and I share them about the money and who stands to make any and how much the city taxpayers have “invested” and lost their must be a forward only vision. Forward from here what will be the best use for the community? The clock cannot be turned back the bell cannot be unrung both the city and HRP/Buddy have invested money on failed visions and plans. Giving up future tax revenue over and above profits is a bad deal for city taxpayers. Should success come to pass and tax revenue flow it should first be used to pay the debts that have been the burden of the general taxpayer much of this journey. If an incentive is provided should come with a sunset and not be a share of funds the city and CRA produce. Any exclusion on zoning and use should also sunset if they are part of a deal to give exclusivity to any developer. (no forever exclusion on other restaurants)
From what I am able to see this deal does not provide enough acceptable access to the river. I am uneasy with the large gap and no city presence on the point, a city controlled park buffer around the perimeter along the shore would go a long way to calm that concern, and would be something to bargain for.
Something is not always better than nothing and until a plan is on the table that has promise that includes the entire CRA area I feel that no piecemeal deals should be made. It may be that we do three developments, as the after trade map clearly defines, city to the north and south and the commercial development in the center, and that is OK but we should have a theme and plan and think about moving it south through the Ridgewood Corridor in the future.

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