Proposals abound for Fifth and Forbes

Catching up from last week: Here's a group of ideas from locals about what do with the Fifth and Forbes corridor. Is there anything new here?

Downtown has to be a regional resource. Not a place primarily to serve people who (we hope someday will) live there. Not a place primarily to serve low income folks. It can't be a Disney-ish preserved "Main Street" of historical buildings. And though the "redevelopment" label has clearly damaged property owners' incentives to invest there, we can't just remove the label and stand back and let the market take over. Downtown has to become a place where people--from all over the area--want to go, and want to stay, because they don't or can't get in their towns or neighborhoods whatever it is that Downtown offers.

Instead of asking locals for their opinions, the P-G (or someone else) should talk to urban planners, developers, community activists, preservationists--in other cities. I was in Providence last year. There's a city with a downtown that's come back from the dead. How did they deal with similar problems? Is the new downtown a success? Not?


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