EDITORíS DESK: Their way and the highway?
The juxtaposition this issue of the Highway 24 greenway story next to the report on the (mostly) unfulfilled Midland/Fountain Creek Parkway Corridor Plan was not
meant to imply that the current effort is bound to get shelved as well. Still, it seemed worthwhile to compare the two.
As Westside leader Dave Hughes notes, a big reason for the Midland plan's failure was lack of money and leadership. But there are some key differences between that plan and the current one. One point that jumps out is eminent domain. The Midland plan was easy to like. It expressed a sentiment for less industrial, more "cottage style" businesses, but nobody's property was going to be condemned to make it happen.
The old plan was more business-friendly all around. Tallying up the lost retail space in the new plan makes a person wonder where anyone is going to shop in the Westside's "pedestrian-friendly" future. Oh sure, the drawings show a relocated shopping center or two, and trails leading to places such as Old Colorado City, but any businessperson will tell you it's not that easy to be uprooted, and it's doubtful the occasional hiker will keep Old Town solvent. Fact is, based on some reports from commercial folks near the three-year-old Midland Trail, thievery is more commonplace than sales.
And then there's the point Commissioner Sallie Clark raises: Is it a two-for-one deal? Does buying the greenway also stick us with an oversized highway expansion?
Of course, these are not the aspects the greenway supporters want us to focus on. We're supposed to be fired up about the opportunity to transform the Westside into a "destination" that will make us all pleased and prosperous. Problem is, most of the people painting these rosy pictures don't actually live here. They won't have to live with the changes. They won't have to regret the loss of a unique world Westsiders once enjoyed... unplanned.