|Posted by Elwin Green on July 4, 2012 at 2:50 AM|
The slogan for Homewood Nation is, "Let's elevate the conversation."
A big part of what that means is elevating our conversation from the realm of assumptions to the realm of facts. In recent comments, reader Queen Lucille seems to express repeatedly the assumption that Councilman Burgess has kept the Bridging the Busway process secret. The following facts show that assumption to be false (I started to post this as a comment, but our commenting software does not allow one to create links):
1 - For starters, there was a steering committee working on Bridging the Busway. In order for Bridging the Busway to be a secret, we would all have to keep it a secret. We didn't.
2 - The first public presentation about Bridging the Busway was on September 14, 2010, at a meeting attended by more than 600 people.
3 - After that meeting, people were asked to indicate their interest in specific topics such as "economic development" or "open spaces" by providing their contact information on sign-up sheets. In April of 2011, people who had done that were sent emails inviting them to participate in focus groups related to their chosen topics. The focus groups provided those Homewood residents with opportunities to give their input on housing; green spaces; Homewood history, culture and arts; and businesses and entrepreneurship. There was a fifth focus group specifically for residents of Point Breeze North.
4 - In May of 2011, there were four design workshops that were open to all, on Homewood North housing; developing Homewood's business district; the Busway's industrial edge; and the Busway's residential edge. I do not know what other steering committee members did to publicize these meetings, but I personally placed flyers at Homewood businesses, took them door-to-door, and handed them to strangers on the street.
5 - On July 26, 2011 and August 30, 2011 there were two public meetings to present what the project consultants (Studio for Spatial Practice) had come up with so far based on the input received through the focus groups and the design workshops, and to receive final input from the community before finalizing the plan. Again, I do not know what other steering committee members did, but I personally emailed more than 20 Homewood residents to invite them to those meetings.
I also wrote about Bridging the Busway sometimes here, on Homewood's only dedicated news outlet. Not as often as I should have. But sometimes.
Maybe the steering committee did fall short in publicizing Bridging the Busway. In fact, scratch the "maybe" - we did fall short. But falling short in publicizing something is not the same as keeping it a secret. Call Bridging the Busway an unholy mess if you want to, and give all the specifics of what makes it an unholy mess. But let's not call it a secret. Secrets are not announced at meetings attended by 600+ people. OK?