I support Redgate-Kane's McIntyre project
Posted Mar 3, 2019 at 5:06 PM
Updated Mar 3, 2019 at 5:06 PM
March 3 -- To the Editor:
I am writing to express my support for the McIntyre project as proposed by Redgate-Kane. I believe that this plan provides a host of benefits and amenities that will enhance our already successful downtown. Furthermore, I and many others participated in all of the input sessions last year and our ideas are reflected in the current proposal and it would be unfair to disregard our efforts at this late juncture.
The project offers a number of features that will complement and enhance downtown Portsmouth: significant open space, a four-season indoor gathering space, a central plaza, co-working space, a market for local food and beverage vendors, and new lifestyle amenities. Potential retail amenities - such as a brewery, grocer or fitness center - are particularly exciting possibilities for the space.
While some are upset that the project only provides 77 parking spots for 77 housing units, it’s a good thing that parking is limited. There is already ample parking available downtown which is evident by the fact that the Foundry Garage is only being used at 25 percent capacity. Adding more parking will encourage more driving which will add to traffic and congestion where it is least needed.
Somebody who seeks to live at that location would probably do so because he or she enjoys the walkability of the city and does not need the use of multiple vehicles for every trip. And of course, limiting parking there also greatly reduces the construction cost of the project which will result in more revenue for the City and taxpayers. Some people seek a “green” space for the downtown that will serve as haven for birds. Density is actually much greener than sprawl. It’s far better for the birds to have 77 housing units on 2.2 acres than to have each unit on its own 1/2 acre mono-cultured lot. Density is far more energy efficient and allows more land to remain undeveloped and allows its residents to rely less on motor vehicles since they are more likely to be able to walk to where they work and shop.
Other people are disappointed about the proposal for a hardscape plaza rather than a park. The truth is that plazas are much more successful spaces than parks. Janette Sadik-Khan was the transportation commissioner of NYC during the Bloomberg administration and she created over 60 plazas in NYC. She noted that people prefer plazas over parks for the same reason they like hanging out in kitchens rather than living-rooms- it’s where the action is. People go downtown to be around other people- not for quiet isolation.
I look forward to seeing the proposal in greater detail on Tuesday night.
I am confident that the City Council will make a decision based on what is best for the city and not based on who is making the most noise.