a smaller crowd was in attendance at the february 7th mcmillan development meeting than was in attendance at the december meeting. that doesn't mean there were few people there, though. the room was full, and the discussion spirited.
the representatives from the city government and the development groups (pictured above: clint jackson from the DMPED office, aakash thakkar from EYA, deborah crain from the office of planning, and jair lynch) started the presentation by asking everyone to remain civil so this meeting could be productive. i believe they'd seen a lot of the fliers that were being passed around, as well as discussion by opponents about how they were going to do what they could to derail the project as currently envisioned.
after basic presentation and a few questions from the audience, councilman thomas arrived (he had another meeting he was attending earlier) and gave an impassioned speech about moving forward on this project.
this was, bar none, the best speech i've seen the councilman give. he elegantly laid out a few key points:
- this has been an open process and we need to keep moving forward to keep things from stalling.
- we can't afford for the surrounding neighborhoods to go another 25 years staring at an empty field surrounded by a rusty fence.
- those who are spreading falsehoods about the project (multi-story tenement housing a la cabrini-green or the robert taylor homes) need to stop.
one of the important announcements to come out of the meeting was the imminent creation of a website where information about the project will be available directly from the development team. that website is available here. i was assured that, once fully up and running, everyone will be able to leave comments about the development there and communicate with the team as well.
in my opinion, this will be a great boon to the project. i think a lot of people are concerned about some of the falsehoods they've been hearing, and once more of the information is readily available, people in the surrounding neighborhoods will have some of those fears assuaged. that's not to say that everyone is going to be happy with this project—there are still many who would rather see nothing built there at all—but i believe, from all i saw at this meeting, that we are moving closer to seeing a consensus agreement on the broad strokes of this plan.