To the editor:
I would like to express my opposition to the proposed Civic Plaza tentatively being planned for Market Street between Court and Third streets. As I understand the concept, it is to provide a place for people to sit and relax while they are downtown and perhaps to enjoy some entertainment. This will be a monumental inconvenience to those doing business downtown.
Market Street is the main access to downtown for those entering the city from the Market Street Bridge. This plaza will require those people to go north or south on Third Street, west on Washington or Adams streets, and then north or south on Fourth Street to where they may, hopefully, find a parking place. The same circuitous route would have to be traveled if one wanted to cross the bridge to West Virginia. Those wanting to go to the post office from anywhere but the bridge will have to travel there by way of Adams or Washington streets and then proceed on Third Street. If one is going to either building from anywhere but the bridge, it would be necessary to travel by way of Washington Street and then south on Third since there is no parking if going north on Third.
I know that the Jefferson County commissioners have not been approached to see how this would impact the use of the courthouse and I don't imagine anyone inquired of the postmaster, either, not to mention the banks.
As for needing this plaza, why close the street? There is a small park with benches next to Chase Bank on Market Street. It is rarely used. The lawn area next to the new city building could be used just as well for a plaza and with no disruption to traffic flow. This would also eliminate the need for a traffic study. No one has said where the money is coming from for this study or for the architect's rendition of what the plaza should look like. If the city has money for this, then that money should be used for more important things, such as street maintenance, water line replacements or hiring additional workers.
We also have the fort across the street with benches, a nice lawn area and a fountain. Entertainment is provided on a regular basis. And finally, who is going to maintain this plaza? If the city does it the same way the area in front of the new city building is maintained, it will be an eyesore. I have never understood the lack of interest the city has in making the city look presentable or well maintained. If landlords and property owners are going to be criticized for not maintaining their properties, then perhaps the city should set an example and take care of what it has.
This is a project that is not needed, will add nothing but inconvenience to people working and doing business in the downtown, will cost money that can better be used elsewhere and should be totally abandoned.
John J. Mascio