LETTER: Canal park plan reflects ‘irrational exuberance’

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[Regarding “Proposed canal park still in play despite funding issues,” June 29 IBJ.com], here’s a current example of over-design caused, in large part, by irrational exuberance in the pursuit of “activating” portions of the downtown and creating an “iconic showcase.”

This is the site which Canal Park Advocates, at great effort, saved a few years ago from having a submarine memorial built there—just west of the Peace Walk on the Cultural Trail. We were initially told by the economic development staffer from Department of Metropolitan Development that Mayor Ballard had greenlighted the project and that it was a “done-deal.”

Unfortunately, the restive greenspace (“empty” according to the IBJ report) will now be filled with an overdesigned “showcase,” if it can be funded, which has increased in cost, via design modifications, from $800,000 to $1.5 million.

Goodbye restful greenspace, hello garish hardscape showcase. I’m again reminded of the clever graphic by IBJ’s Brad Turner depicting the future of downtown and the canal, which was featured in the publication’s 2005 25th anniversary publication—a yard-square patch of grass along the canal with the commemorative sign “Greenspace, dedicated 2004.”

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Clarke Kahlo
Canal Park Advocates

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