Friday, January 8, 2010

Vibrant Eugene


The City of Eugene hosted two open houses this week to share information and gather feedback from the public about potential downtown revitalization projects. My apologies for the belated notice about these events: the first open house occurred on Wednesday, January 6 at the 5th Street Market, while the second took place on Thursday, January 7 at the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts (DIVA) at 110 West Broadway. I was unable to attend either meeting (I’m presently visiting family in Vancouver, British Columbia; more on Vancouver in a forthcoming post). Perhaps someone who did go to one of the open houses can comment for the benefit of the readers of this blog.

Downtown Eugene is our civic center and the economic, cultural and governmental focus of the region. It should be where we, as a community, live and learn – work and play. Over the years, the City has solicited input from the community on goals and priorities for downtown redevelopment. The timing appears propitious once again, with a number of downtown projects in the works. Hence the open houses, which the City hoped would jumpstart public discussion about the future of the downtown core.

The potential downtown projects include:
  • Lane Community College’s new downtown center
  • A new Department of Veterans Affairs medical clinic
  • The Beam Development renovation of the Center Court Building
  • Downtown safety improvements
  • Green infrastructure
  • Downtown parking improvements
  • An arts and entertainment district
  • Business assistance and housing

Regarding Vibrant Eugene, the City’s project manager Amanda Nobel Flannery said “We know that no single project will solve the challenges downtown all at once. But together, these projects could work to generate jobs and create an active downtown center that feels safe and welcoming for everyone. We are looking forward to hearing what people think.”

Although the open houses are now history, the City welcomes further public input via its website at http://www.vibranteugene.org/. The website has project descriptions (including details about potential job creation, costs, and timing) and will soon feature online surveys and a discussion board. All community feedback will be considered by staff and the City Council.

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