Letter: For Monument Circle, an idea and a complaint

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I’m mystified that so much column space was devoted to the condition of Monument Circle without one word about the fact the circle is becoming a homeless camp by night [Circle at Crossroads, Oct. 19]. It’s a tragic situation that should concern us all and needs at least as much thinking as bricks and event management.

__________

Susan Williams

What an exciting idea, renovating Monument Circle. Before all the decisions are made, I’d recommend that the committee visit Holland, Michigan. Your article mentioned spalled bricks, broken curbing and lack of facilities to make the experience nicer.

On 8th Avenue in Holland, the city with financial aid from the DeVoss family, bricked this main thoroughfare through the downtown area. The main difference is that they ran heated pipes under the bricks using heated water from a nearby power plant. Since several buildings in our downtown and at IUPUI use steam heat from IPL, access to it shouldn’t be too difficult. Gently warming the bricks clears them of snow and ice, keeps the bricks in place and keeps them from spalling. You have never seen a flatter or more beautiful street and sidewalk.

Anyone who has been up to Carmel can easily see that their plentiful brickwork is already undergoing spalling and uneven bricks. If you are going to use bricks or pavers, which is expensive, underground heating makes a lot of sense.

In addition, Holland has placed a four-sided fireplace on one corner, outside an ice cream shop, with seating for people to gather; a couple water fountains; bike racks; flat benches and benches with backs; and attractive trash cans. They also installed iron around all the trees, which stays as flat to the ground as the bricks do; no tripping. Then they installed crosswalks with stop signs every couple hundred feet, which regulates traffic speed and discourages cruising. It has attracted a lot of nice, interesting, non-franchised shops … and a lot of walking visitors. Doing the Circle and the four spokes in this manner would make a beautiful centerpiece for our city.

__________

Steve Pettinga

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