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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bridge, Brews and Public Spaces

Following the approval by the city's planning commission a couple of weeks ago, the micro brewery proposal next to the Hays Street Bridge will be on the city council meeting agenda sometime in early August.  The brewery project has support from the neighborhood association as well as broad community support. The project was recently endorsed by the editorial board of our local newspaper as a great example of bringing private investment to an area that has been longing for investment, either private or public.  Council approval is the last step for this project to get going in what has been a year long process of meetings, discussion and debate.

The restoration of the Hays Street Bridge was a wonderful achievement by a committed group of individuals. Those folks should be rightly recognized and honored for their accomplishment but they don't own the bridge and neither will the brewery operator. The bridge has always been public space and will remain public space. And because the bridge is a public space and city owned property is involved, there has been over the course of a year an open and fair public process that ensured that the community had a say one way or another.  From neighborhood association meetings to community meetings organized by the city to hearings before the city's planning commission, citizens have had several opportunities to voice their support or opposition.

Those folks that are in opposition of the brewery certainly have a right to voice their concerns and ask questions.  However, in this case the the notion of private investment around a historic structure that could potentially spur other investment on the Eastside was more compelling an argument for the community than putting another park in the neighborhood.

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