Downtown Eugene

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Searching for answers

According to city staff, the process of looking for developers to invest in downtown is in high gear. They have six months to secure projects, to exercise the options they've taken out on property downtown. However, with the unlikelyhood of subsidies, and the high option price, it is not clear that there is any room for profit, in any standard redevelopment prospect in the footprint.

While the city staff pursues this as yet unfruitful approach (dozens of private projects announced for downtown have never materialized), let's consider a public alternative. $25 million sits in the general fund, and other money is available, if the citizens of Eugene are organized to take back their downtown. The entire district could be programmed for the public benefit, in a uniquely Eugene fashion. If not, that general fund money will likely be spent on projects no one is much interested in -- a monolithic Police headquarters, and a monolithic new city hall. We can do better.