I wanted to follow up with folks that were unable to attend the DRC "West Riverfront Community Meeting" yesterday early evening. The DRC made sure to have an extremely controlled meeting, following their agenda of speakers and making their presentations, and attendees had to "write down" their questions on little piece of paper, hand them in and the DRC chose which questions to read and answer, and which questions they chose to ignore. There was no meaningful dialogue during the Q & A between the attendees and the DRC.
There were not high numbers of Southwest Detroiters (SWD) in attendance. From my knowledge, the DRC did not reach out to the SWD Community to be in attendance. DRC did not advertise their "West Riverfront Community Meeting" in our local church bulletins, El Central, Latino Press, do any direct mailings, etc.,...to invite all of the SWD folks who have attended and signed-in at previous years of DRC "West Riverfront Community Meetings". If you were lucky enough to become aware of this meeting last night, it would have been though seeing it on an email list-serve or by word of mouth. The tortilla factory owner across the street from Roberto Clemente Rec Center came up to me at the meeting to tell me that none of her fellow business owners in Mexicantown knew about this meeting and asked me who did DRC invite and how was the SWD Community invited to this DRC "West Riverfront Community Meeting"...........exactly!
The new news from DRC:
1) to open up the green space of the old Free Press land at the West Riverfront with projected date of September 2013 and do some basic improvements such install new wide pathways along & to the riverfront, install the same railing system that is on portions of the renovated Riverfront downtown & Eastward, new benches, have security and maintenance for this green space.
2) the above effort, would be a quick, temporary way to get people to this riverfront in a safe way, but this green space would still be included in future charette West Riverfront planning sessions yet to happen, some year/s in the future when DRC states they have land control of the West Riverfront. DRC states that there is no sense in West Riverfront planning sessions & charettes when they don't have land control.........really, no dream plan? And yet, the beginning of our dreaming charette sessions started back in 2005-06 (if I am recalling correctly) by DRC at St. Anne's Church Hall where the hall was filled with SWD residents and business owners because there was a real effort to advertise to our local community.
3) the good news is that DRC did not mention or show their previous West Riverfront Rendering that they touted to SWD/HF residents when DRC came to talk to us in 2011 at the Delray Senior Apt.'s Community Room that the SWD/HF residents strongly opposed.