Wednesday, June 2, 2010
But, funding for the plan has to wait.
At its Tuesday, June 1 meeting, the council expressed its enthusiasm for downtown renewal, especially after hearing from a parade of influential speakers from property owner Anthony Davi to Marriott General Manager Rene Boskoff to the Saucito Land Company's Jerry Anderson—all of whom pleaded for help for a downtown many said was in a death spiral. But, a nearly $300,000 traffic study and a $50,000 streetscape plan to get the downtown facelift underway was put on hold until September when city staffers hope to win grant funding for the projects.
Property owners and hotel managers urged the council to take the plunge and invest in downtown, which they said would pay great dividends later, but after a discussion of the city's $5 million deficit, City Manager Fred Meurer advised the council to wait until they had a better handle on how they'd plug the budget hole, even as he argued that downtown should rise to the top of the city's priorities.
"The health of downtown is really at the heart of the health of the whole city," Meurer said.