Your Views: A moms take on the waterfront

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To the editor:

As a working mother, I would prefer to spend this time with my children, but instead Im writing about the waterfront development for it affects us mothers the most. We have the most to gain by good planning and the most to lose by bad planning.  As moms, our concerns are simple: much needed revenue, safety from drivers, accessible parking and green spaces.

In a downward economy generally and within my industry, real estate investment and management, specifically, we see no recovery until 2015 at the earliest. The private sector will continue to see stagnation in wages and benefits. We residential property owners cannot carry the burden of supporting city coffers. The city needs more revenue, especially now, when so many people need help. The city cant continually get it from the residential property owners, as we dont have it. We are a tourism city and the right commercial development will generate much needed revenue and jobs.
 
As for safety and parking, I see the rude drivers go through stop signs; make illegal turns in front of my kids and honk at me when Im in the crosswalk with my children as I walk them to and from school. Finding residential street parking is challenging and very frustrating, especially when you want to get home, but visitors are parked in the non-metered residential spaces. A good urban planner would limit commercial development to a central area, King Street, and the already commercially developed waterfront.

Lastly, to green spaces, I understand why some people think open spaces deter revenue, but any educated urban planner will tell you that green spaces only add to the value of the surrounding property. Instead of artificially increasing property taxes, property values will go up naturally and there would be no need to raise peoples taxes.   

Also, green spaces should be used as community gardens and boast playgrounds for kids as well. As food prices soar and many of our neighbors cannot afford fresh produce, this is a wonderful alternative. This is missing in the plan, another sign of the lack of understanding of urban planning in the 21st century.

As a mom and business person, my recommendation is simple: find someone who understands pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and green spaces and who knows how to cram as much excitement-sparking retail into a small location without affecting us moms, residences or the environment in an adverse way. 

In the private sector it is easy: we hire people who fit our needs. Hopefully the city will follow suit and hire an urban planner that actually understands the uniqueness of Old Town, because right now City Hall has failed when it comes to urban development.
 

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