Thursday, October 23, 2014
For months, our town has been buzzing with pros and cons about the proposed Cottage Grove Main St. Refinement Plan. Tonight, the planning commission will convene a public meeting at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall to consider the latest revision of the plan, including the controversial tree removal segment.
Are you coming to the meeting? Or have you seen the plan? If not, check it out at http://www.cottagegrovemainstreet.com/. Visually, I find the proposed changes to our Main St. landscape very sterile. Thirty years from now visitors will know exactly when the renovations took place. On the other hand, it addresses practical aspects that should have been done years ago.
Those positive changes include removing the crown that has built up in the middle of Main St., better drainage, upgrading sidewalks and crosswalks to ADA standards and more. Personally, I don’t agree with some of the proposals like redoing All America Square but I’m sure looking forward to no longer scraping our car doors on the sidewalks.
This is a small town project fraught with emotion and a big price tag. Naturally, the rumor mill has been working overtime.
So let’s put one rumor to rest. I have repeatedly heard this statement: “This plan is a done deal. These public meetings are just a formality. ‘They’ don’t care what we want. There is no reason to attend.” I heard this so many times that in true reporter fashion I took my questions to City Planner Amanda Ferguson.
I asked her if the revamped Main St. meeting was just a formality or if there was still a place for public input. I asked if the plan could still be altered to reflect both the city’s needs and the public wants or if it was a “package deal” that we had to accept or reject. After all, if there were no flexibility (as rumors suggest), there would not be reason for any of us to show up. Amanda immediately set me straight.
She said, “Certainly we want public input. (This is a work in progress.) It’s just a plan. It’s not code. It’s not regulation. It’s not finalized. It’s not been legislated. It’s just a recommendation. Plans are never final until they are final. Plans are subject to change and I fully expect that there will be changes to this one and it will be referred back and forth to (other) committees.”
Amanda also reminded me that this is government that we’re dealing with and it could be years before all of this comes to fruition. There will be more meetings, more changes and of course, searches for funding. The actual project is expected to cost millions of dollars and could take years to pursue the funds one block at a time. So there you have it. It’s just a plan and it’s complicated.
“Adopt a plan and stick to it.” I found that statement buried in one of the Main St. documents. It is a number one goal of the project. That’s good advice for all of us. This Main St. remodel is going to define us for decades. Come to this meeting prepared to articulate your idea for the plan. To do that you will have to distill your idea to its essence. Be succinct and direct. Or, as my neighbor Sally used to say, “Eat the meat and throw out the bones.”
Frankly, I don’t want to be on the losing end of another battle. Many of us backed the carousel project and we still watched it go down the drain. We tried to save the Dr. Pierce Barn and failed. Well, now I want to keep Tree City USA green on Main St. I want us to look like our name not some inner city redevelopment. I’ll be at the meeting.
Charm is the operative word for Cottage Grove. People like looking at the past. Most find us to be charming and hospitable. We are not a sleek lines and modern architecture town. That’s why so many groups advocate a historic district that reflects the warmth and history of the early 20th century. I agree.
But refinement is not bad. In fact, bringing things up to code and cleaning up the roads and sidewalks is a plus to add to the attraction of our murals, museums and covered bridges. Just don’t change our personality.
So what do you think? Our town needs your input. It’s human nature to mumble and grumble when we disagree about things that are either near and dear to our hearts or going to cost us money. But it’s not enough to just complain to yourself or your friends. You have to make your opinions known in a larger forum and work with your allies.
Are you coming to the meeting? Well, if you want your voice to be heard by something other than the four walls of your house then get up out of your easy chair, turn off the television and come to City Hall. Say hello to your neighbors, make new friends, mend some fences and work together to fashion the Main Street Refinement Plan in such a way as to make us all proud of downtown for years to come.
P.S. Remember: “It’s just a plan.” Get involved. Be patient. Be nice.
Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart. Contact her at 942-1317 or via e-mail — firstname.lastname@example.org
After a long hot summer of company, cooking, canning and unending yard work, I’m beat— bone weary and brain dead. Maybe you are too. So it’s time to share a column of emails to help us all smile, relax a little and enjoy the coming rain.
The first group of thoughts I filed under “Why?” No answers just head-scratching questions. In fact, I ask myself the first question every time I drive I5 between Cottage Grove and Eugene. After that, the thoughts range from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Why do cars on the freeway rush up to your bumper at 75 mph, go around you and then slow down to 55 mph?
Why do supermarkets make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?
Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in our driveways and put our useless junk in the garage?
Ever Wonder Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?
Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?
Why is it that doctors and attorneys call what they do 'practice'?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavoring, and dish washing liquid made with real lemons?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff??
Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?
Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke? (Well, I understand that completely!)
Now we come to a challenging quiz from my sister-in-law. She says, “Today is National Mental Health Day. You can do your part by remembering to send this email to at least one genius challenged person. And don’t send it back to me, I’ve already flunked it once!”
This Genius Quiz is supposedly for people who know everything. There are only nine questions. They are straight questions with straight answers. There are no trick questions but I found a few to be deceptively difficult.
I suggest that you take the quiz, let me know how you do and then file it away under “Questions to ask any know-it-alls in your friends or family.” No peeking allowed! Answers are at the bottom. Here we go:
1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.
2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?
3 Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on
their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?
4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?
5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?
6. Only three words in Standard English begin with the letters ' DW' and they are all common words. Name two of them.
7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?
8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.
9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on
your feet beginning with the letter 'S.'
Answers To Genius Quiz:
1. The one sport in which neither spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: Boxing.
2. North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls. The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.
3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: Asparagus and rhubarb.
4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry.
5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the
6. Three English words beginning with DW: Dwarf, dwell and dwindle...
7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.
8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh: Lettuce.
9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with 'S': Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.
So there you have it, folks, your points to ponder for the day. By the way, I tried putting on mascara with my mouth closed. It is possible but I had to continually remind myself to close my mouth. Enough said. Have a good week!
Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.