Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"You know what they should do?"

Mike Moran's latest column in the Herald takes a somewhat critical somewhat complimentary look at the Green Futures proposal for the former Hess LNG site. He gives them credit for suggesting a plan for the Weavers Cove site, although calling it naive. At the same time he seems to be saying that those who say "you know what they should do" are basically looking to waste your time with their ideas that they can't possibly implement. Politicians and government can really only play a supportive role and it's private business that makes the difference. I take a different point of view on this.

Government has to play more than a "supportive" role in development. If we want a vibrant downtown, then it's up to local government to work to make that happen. That means marketing, changing zoning, looking for ways to finance redevelopment, courting businesses that we feel fit that vision. You can't sit back and wait for private business to say "you know what they should do" and then hopefully go and do it. The same principal applies to the waterfront. Citizens, activist groups, idealistic politicians, etc. who share there ideas aren't living out some pipe-dream they are hoping to inspire someone who can implement a vision. In the case of Green Futures vision for the LNG site, obviously they are building on the seeds of a vibrant recreational and commercial waterfront and pointing out that it should be included in the "vision" we have for the rest of the waterfront.

Once upon a time someone said, "you know what they should do?" and then said we should tear down the elevated Rt. 79 and now we're moving closer to that reality. More recently someone said "you know what they should do?" and then said we should paint the Braga a new color to brighten up the skyline. Certainly painting the bridge isn't going to have the same impact as getting rid of the elevated highway, but the point is neither change would have happened if someone didn't first say "you know what they should do?"

A blue Braga isn't going to change the future of Fall River but removing that elevated roadway will. A boulevard along the waterfront is going to open up land and development possibilities that haven't existed before. Someone's pipe-dream is becoming a reality. Weavers Cove has to be one of the most important parcels of land in the city. It's in a prime location. It has great highway access can be connected to rail and proposed bike paths. It would be a shame to see the city not try to have a hand in developing that site in ways that fit with our vision of the future of our waterfront. What's for worse than saying "you know what they should do?" is saying "you know what they should have done?"


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, You know what you should do is the flavor of the day during election season. The city needs a plan and needs to stick to the plan!

Anonymous said...

The Green Futures solution of just take a huge piece of land and plant a bunch of trees and create more parks is foolish and only appeals to the extreme tree huggers among us. Let's get some type of business down there that will create jobs. As long as it isn't a business that might blow up and threaten lives we should all be fine with it.

Lefty said...

Um...that isn't their plan at all...

"A city-based group is proposing an ambitious plan for redeveloping the Weaver’s Cove site on the Taunton River, with a hotel and conference center, office space, residences, a marina, boardwalk and a commuter rail station."