As Santa Cruz is rapidly being transformed into a sea of tall concrete buildings here, there and everywhere, one wonders how this rush to build-build-build coincides with the city’s Climate Action Plan, or Health in All Policies. The filling in of the entirety of Lot 4, where the Farmers’ Market is held, will likely be seen one day as an irreversible mistake by our city planners. We who live here now, and future generations, will have missed the chance to create a community space that can welcome all, reflecting “Santa Cruz values” so much more than a fifth downtown parking garage that requires the cutting down of heritage trees. Participants in the recent “re-envisioning” for the current library site placed a high value on open space downtown. For all the ideas they suggested, Lot 4 is the preferred location for a town commons, qualities described by the consultant from Projects for Public Spaces.
While hundreds of other communities, large and small, are favoring fewer cars in their downtowns and more open space, Santa Cruz is moving in the opposite direction.
City voters may soon have an opportunity to vote on which scenario will come to pass. Until then, you can still try to make your voices heard. Visit Downtown Commons Advocates’ website at downtowncommonsadvocates.weebly.com.
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