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June 15, 2009


"Move to Cabbage Town?" Really? Stay classy, "kim."

On the one hand, the fact that Boulevard is a historic district has certainly prevented a lot of pointless carnage that greedhead "developers" would have inflicted on an area that already suffered quite a few injuries back in the 60s and 70s.

On the other hand, the presence of a historic district has bred a new race of super-NIMBYs who swallow their tongues if they even hear someone using a power tool. Present these people with any of the ideas you suggest -- never mind all of them -- and their heads will explode.

Here's my own dream: A streetcar line running down Boulevard again. Yeah, I know, what have I been smoking?

Yeah, too much "stuff" in this plan o'yours. the neighborhood is fine and, if anything, has too much junk being built as it is. Please see the monstrosities on Cain St for examples. That used to be a very nice little field.

No more dog parks. Seriously. I was totally into a park but a new urbanite boulevard? Move to cabbage town.

Some interesting ideas...
Here's a little bit of a neighborhood history perspective...

The former extension of Dubose behind Chase St. School belongs to the school - they badly needed it for their playground, which now partially sits in the old road. Pretty much everyone was glad to see the road go, and you can still walk through.

Integrating commercial with residential in some parts of the 'hood is intriguing, but unless it's already there (e.g. White Tiger) a lot of folks are leery of potential commercial encroachment. Many remember the late-1980's battles with the Bread Basket, whose former owners wanted to rezone and knock down 2 houses on Boulevard (including mine!), the houses on Dubose knocked down for doctors' offices, and the hospital trying to exercise eminent domain along King Ave. in the late 90's. The last commercial rezoning battle was an awful experience - very well-intentioned neighbors on both sides with 2 completely different perspectives, and way too much animosity. I don't think anyone is ready yet to reopen those wounds.

On the more positive side, the Oneta St./Chase Park warehouse redevelopments have been awesome! These weren't even on my radar until my daughter started taking trapeze there. They are a wonderful addition to the area.

I personally would like to see a restaurant or coffee shop go into the space that currently houses the auto repair shop at the corner of Boulevard and Chase (former location of the Chase St. Amoco). We almost had Jittery Joe's a few years back, but the site was badly contaminated by old leaking underground storage tanks, and will take several years to clean up - in the mean time, uses are limited to its current auto repair/junk car storage.

I'd also like to see the gas pumps gone from the Bread Basket. My reasons are somewhat selfish since I live nearby, but it's my belief that gasoline and houses are not a good mix, as evidenced by the legacy of the old Chase St. Amoco across the street. I'd like to see a more neighborhood-oriented grocery or restaurant in its place, one that doesn't just serve the artery-clogging greezy special and sell just junk food and candy (and cigarettes and lotto tix, etc.).

Just a quick remark on density... Zoning decisions made in the Boulevard area here have apparently been done so to prospectively increase average lot sizes, which usually means decreasing density. Many lots are nonconforming because of their small size. While there is usually a prospective angle to zoning, this area has been left with so many nonconforming lots that the zoning is questionable.

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