Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reasons to Make Your Voice Heard - Part I

If you don't speak out, whether literally - through participation at neighborhood or city meetings, or perhaps informal events like those happy hours and breakfasts with Ralph Remington - then at least through the written word.

If you don't make your voice heard, there are plenty of other people out there who are happy to speak on your behalf. I've come across so many ridiculous things in my recent Uptown research that are in need of sharing. I'm going to highlight a few of those from time to time; think of them as a reminder that there are a broad range of visions and opinions in this neighborhood. Speak up now or risk the consequences.

And now, for example number one. Remember all the fuss back in 2006 about having a hotel in Uptown? I always considered it a no-brainer: argue the merits of the location and design, if you want, but a hotel itself (done well) would be, and I hope will be, a huge asset to the neighborhood. Not everyone agrees with that, of course. Some highlights from this concerned ECCO resident (name withheld to protect her from ridicule, as she's not a public figure), in a letter to the editor published in the Uptown Neighborhood News in August 2006:

"According to the developer, hotels run at 75% occupancy.
That means approximately 23,000-plus people
need to pass through this hotel's door per year."

Yes? And they would then of course pass into the neighborhood, spending their money and shoring up Uptown's economy. But, of course, this writer doesn't agree with me on that point:

"These people are not neighbors with vested interest in your community;
they are people who will impact your livability."

You'd think the hotel was going to be renting rooms by the hour and selling crack in the lobby. She has a point, though; these customers will impact neighborhood livability. And, if done well, it would be in a good way.

And, this being Uptown, you can't have a critique without ultimately getting back to height:

"This project will loom over the neighborhoods. Do you want a complete stranger looking into your backyard as your family barbecues and your children play?

Because, as we all know, hotel residents have nothing better to do than stand in the window, scanning the horizon looking for family barbecues to watch. Perhaps the hotel had plans to issue binoculars upon check-in?

Let that be a lesson to all of you. Don't grill nude or while wearing funny hats. Oh, and the next time you hear about a project you like take the time to voice your support. Unless, of course, you want your more vocal neighbors to speak on your behalf.

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