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.
Yes on Measure O!
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