My hand is raised in favor of a downtown redesign. In 40 years of residence, the physical has changed little as use and business have grown. The timing is right to explore and implement a design with an eye toward the future. I’ve had many discussions about a more open, people-centered, outdoor space in our business core, but it always seemed out of reach politically. COVID-19 forced our hand. And guess what? People love it! Even in the primitive form we have now.
I, too, attended a public downtown design meeting, and find disingenuous the opinion that a “do-nothing” vote was majority. While it had support, the clear winner was the total of votes for the various designs. The “do-something” crowd. Investing in public works is always hard. Change is scary. Costs are eye-popping.
I sat front row for 20 years of Animas River Trail discussions and objections were similar. Today, the river trail is incredibly popular. It’s become Durango’s Central Park. A big value-add to our community, used and loved by many, even most early detractors. I can’t imagine not having it. A downtown pedestrian redesign will be viewed the same.
Yes, it will be a balancing act. Yes, we have to accommodate cars and parking. And yes, it competes with many other worthy projects – top of list being a river trail/downtown connection and pushing the trail through to Three Springs. But smart investment in pedestrian infrastructure is always a winner. Count me yes!