At the Board of Public Works meeting this Monday (January 13), the agenda includes an “update and presentation on the Business 51 Project.” The meeting will take place at 6PM in the Lincoln Center (1519 Water Street).
The agenda packet includes a memo from Scott Schatschneider, Director of Public Works. The full text of this memo is as follows: “Staff will be presenting an update on the Bus. 51 project in regards to the overall status of the project and will begin collecting ideas as far as moving forward.”
The need for “collecting ideas as far as moving forward” undoubtedly stems from a reaction to the November public meeting about the Division/Church Corridor Study project. Many who attended that meeting used it as an opportunity to rudely express nonconstructive opinions expressing anger towards the project and its staff. I reported on that meeting here. Although there was much information available at that meeting for those interested in creating a better design for the corridor, other press outlets chose to focus exclusively on the anger of attendees.
Subsequently, the project staff proposed hiring a consultant, in part to manage the public involvement effort. The cost of hiring the consultant was to be as much as $30,000, an expense that would be paid by the city. The Board of Public Works approved hiring the consultant at its December meeting, but one week later the Stevens Point Common Council voted not to hire the consultant.
Because of the scant information contained in the agenda packet, I find it difficult to guess what sorts of ideas for “moving forward” are likely to be raised. There has certainly been a well-defined public process in place for close to a year. All residents of our city have had the same opportunity to state their suggestions and opinions both orally and in writing at each stage of the project. The proposed designs seem to be in the ballpark of finding an appropriate balance for all road users and other stakeholders while meeting project goals. Sticking to the original plan for identifying the preferred alternative seems to be a reasonable way to move forward.
To those who have been following this project, the discussion at Monday’s meeting will likely be interesting.
The agenda packet can be downloaded from the city website here. This discussion is first on the agenda, so if Poky Pedalers are planning on showing up, being on time is probably a good idea. There is no indication as to whether members of the public will be allowed to speak or not.
I will certainly attend Monday’s meeting. Poky Pedalers can expect a report about this meeting on the PPSP blog next week.
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