Below is an update from Salem Community Vision on the $70-90 million proposal by the City of Salem to renovate the Civic Center and build a new police department headquarters.
Head over there and give them a Facebook like. This recently formed group is out to bring better urban design, more citizen involvement, and improved efficiency to City government -- all sorely needed.
Already Salem Community Vision seems to be having an impact.
In this post I shared a message from Gene Pfeifer, who chaired the group's first meeting at the Capitol Theatre. Gene described how seismically retrofitting all of the Civic Center buildings, including the library, could be done for considerably less money than the City is proposing to spend on its overly grandiose plans.
Amazingly, those initial plans didn't include earthquake-proofing the library.
So when (not if) the Big One hits, city employees and elected officials in the rest of the Civic Center would be in a seismically-sound building, but not people at the library.
In the update, though, you'll read that City Manager Linda Norris is now considering adding a library seismic upgrade to the plans. Good move, if this happens, though it should have been done from the start.
Which goes to show that the City should listen to informed citizens earlier rather than later, and often rather than rarely -- one of the goals of Salem Community Vision.
To begin with she said, "The Peace Plaza will stay the same." Then she went on to say that the following things would take place in that area.
1) replacement of the concrete in the Plaza;
2) removal of the 'pointy' sculpture around the fountain;
3) removal of the fountain and exploration of whether it can be fixed;
4) building of a new Courtroom and service center building to the east that would involve moving the current wall with mural and displays and adding a covered walkway connecting the buildings; and
5) putting a parking lot at the west end where the trees are currently.
When asked if the City would be open to take recommendations from the public, she indicated that if they hear enough from citizens that they would like to see a specific change be made to the plans, they would consider it. This, however, primarily is in regard to the Police building. However, one would think that anything is up for consideration as she emphasized that the drawings were a 'guide' only.
Ms. Norris said that the City is now looking into the Library for seismic upgrades and it might be added to the bond. No estimate was ventured at this time as to whether the study can be done in time for the Nov 2014 bond or the amount that would be added.
She also said that they are asking Neighborhood Associations and other groups to sponsor presentations by staff on the bond proposal. The person to contact is Courtney Knox Busch ([email protected]). The public meetings need to happen between now and the end of January, because they plan to bring it to the City Council for a worksession in February and to go out for a vote in November 2014.
We encourage you to attend one of the presentations and/or visit the City website to see the proposal and background information.
Salem Community Vision also has speakers who can come to your group to talk about the viable and less costly alternatives to the City proposal.
Today (October 25) Salem Community Vision was the program at Creekside Rotary. The consensus seemed to be support of a Police Facility, but not at that expensive civic center site that involves demolition and reconstruction of Council Chambers, Peace Plaza, Public Parking, and Mirror Pond. Contact SCV at [email protected]
Feel free to share this update with others.