Letter to the editor: Please stop echoing what city says on library project

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To the editor:

Can local reporters please stop echoing what city staff says and dig a little deeper before perpetuating untruths?

Lookout’s story about a possible “swap” of the locations of the library and farmers market makes it sound like there was community consensus and that the process has been completed. For a more accurate picture of participants’ comments, review the report’s addendum.

When the majority of invited groups consisted of housing advocates, of course the results will show that housing is the preferred use of that space. The farmers market’s continued research might determine that that location is optimal for them, or not. I have my doubts whether a thriving farmers market and an eight-story housing development are good companions. All indications point to a tall building replacing the two-story library, which would stick out like a sore thumb there.

When the city hired the consultant from Projects for Public Spaces as part of the “revisioning,” it’s unfortunate that they didn’t request a study comparing that site with Lot 4. Public plazas are most successful when they meet certain criteria, and having adjacent businesses and cafes is one of them. There is not a lot of foot traffic near the Civic Auditorium or Greek church or fire station on a regular basis.

How compatible would an active plaza (with the noise and disruptions from festivals, concerts, etc.) be next to an apartment building? And what about the antiques faire?

Economic Development Director Bonnie Lipscomb states that a plaza at the civic center makes sense. That might be the case if the library was still there, but perhaps not if a token commons is carved out of a larger piece of land dominated by yet another multistory mixed-use project.

The “revisioning” process is far from “complete,” no matter what the city says.

Judi Grunstra
Santa Cruz