Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Talking to city hall

Every two or three years my suburb has a community gathering at a park about a mile from my house. Some fun things for the kids – bouncy castle, a chance to see inside a police car or fire truck – and hot dogs for everyone. A large number of city officials are also in attendance and circulating through the crowd, so it is a good time to talk to them.

Rain has fallen periodically through today, so I was sure the event would be canceled. But during a break in the rain (and with the weather map showing nothing barreling down on us) I decided to walk over. I would at least get the date of the postponed event and some needed exercise. To my surprise the event was in full swing. I skipped the hot dogs, but did talk to a member of the city council, the mayor, and the city planner.

My big question was what is happening with the golf course behind my house that closed four years ago. There is a clubhouse / banquet hall / restaurant along the main road. The rest of the almost 60 acres is a river floodplain and had been the golf course. Both the city council person and the mayor said there are investors looking at the area along the road. One of two or three ideas shared with the council is to build an artist colony. The rest of the land is now owned by the city. One idea for that is to merge it with the county park that is on the other side of the course from my house. I like that idea – especially since I've been thinking the same thing.

While talking another rainstorm blew through. Lots of people huddled in the tent and under the pavilion. Many of the kids had been playing in the water slide, so more rain made no difference.

The other question I had for all of them was safe routes for bicyclists. The city is beginning to talk about bike lanes. I've been an avid bicyclist for about a decade and have ridden all over the western suburbs. My complaint to the city is certain main roads do not have sidewalks, a safe place for me to ride. The mayor said bikes on sidewalks is actually illegal, but the city doesn't enforce that law because of the lack of bike lanes. Then the mayor asked if I'd be interested in joining a new committee to guide him and the city planner in developing bike paths. I thought this was not something I needed in my life right now. But I dutifully talked to the city planner about it. He said discussions about creating the committee are still going on and announcements of its actual formation will be in the newspaper. I didn't tell him I don't bother reading the suburban newspaper, except close to the election to see who is running for city government (and I found there are twelve candidates for four city council seats in the August primary).

By attending today's event I can skip "Mornings with the Mayor" tomorrow at 9:00.

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