.Letter to the Editor: Turning Point for Downtown

A letter to the editor of Good Times

Re: “Zone Defense” (GT, 9/7): In the process of adopting Objective Standards, the city of Santa Cruz conducted a survey to gather community input on the choice of street furnishings (benches, lighting, bike racks, etc.). In a more open-ended category asking what other elements could improve the look of downtown, respondents’ answers included “Creation of more car-free public space,” “Inclusion of space for outdoor dining, farmers’ market … street performance,” “Support for more art and interactive art,” and “A desire for shaded seating and more landscaping.” 

These are exactly what proponents of Measure O envision for a Town Commons on Lot 4.  

Santa Cruz is at a crucial turning point regarding “placekeeping,” a concept related to “placemaking,” which considers what should be preserved as a community changes. Those who say, “But Lot 4 is just a parking lot” seem willfully blind to the potential of that central downtown location. We already have a library which is ideally located. There is no reason the city cannot offer the Farmers’ Market the improvements on Lot 4 that they are offering on Lot 7.  

This quote from How to Turn a Place Around by Projects for Public Spaces resonates with those of us who support Measure O: “For far too long, the shaping of public spaces has been left to architects and urban planners, who plan from the top down. Placemaking ensures that changes to a space will reflect the needs of the entire community, and it boosts that community’s sense of ownership in a project.  

Lot 4 presents an opportunity for a community-led process to create a well-loved public space that can connect us and enrich our lives far into the future. Losing this space will be an irreversible mistake. 

secure document shredding

Yes on Measure O! 

Judi Grunstra 

Santa Cruz


These letters do not necessarily reflect the views of Good Times.To submit a letter to the editor of Good Times: Letters should be originals—not copies of letters sent to other publications. Please include your name and email address to help us verify your submission (email address will not be published). Please be brief. Letters may be edited for length, clarity and to correct factual inaccuracies known to us. Send letters to [email protected].

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