Cedar Lee resident and business owner supports development
I support Flaherty & Collins plan for the Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook development project. I own CLE Urban Winery in the Cedar Lee Business District, and I own a home within the district as well. My life and my life savings are both, literally, invested in Cedar Lee, so I have a great deal of personal and professional skin in this game. I am making this statement on my own, but I have discussed this with other district merchants who share and support this opinion.
I do NOT support the entire empty lot at Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road becoming a park. I am STRONGLY in favor of the multi-use commercial-development plan proposed by Flaherty & Collins. Here are some facts that I believe need to be reiterated and understood about this project:
1) The empty lot at Meadowbrook and Lee is not a “green space.” The bank building that was formerly on that lot was torn down and grass grew in its place. It is also not a safe place, right on a major traffic thoroughfare, to have an “activity park.”
2) A park in the middle of a commercial district will not bring business to the district. In fact, having this hole in the continuity of the commercial district actually interferes with business and commercial activities here. If you support the small businesses in Cedar Lee, PLEASE help us survive by supporting the economic development of our commercial district! This project is essential to our recovery from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.
3) There is no funding to build, let alone maintain, a standalone park on that empty lot at Meadowbrook and Lee. The development proposal includes plans to create a true green space on about half of that empty lot—this IS funded as part of this crucial project. There is already another “activity park”—the Cedar-Lee Mini-Park, with plans and funding efforts in place—just a block north of that empty lot. We don’t need another park in this commercial district, especially one that is unfunded and would be a tax-dollar drain rather than an economic driver.
We have an incredible opportunity to work with this proven and committed development team to modernize and upgrade our commercial district now. We CANNOT delay or cancel this project because of fear of change or other rhetoric and political noise. We desperately need economic development, and investment in the district and in the city. Without it, both will decline, residents will move, businesses will close. Our city council needs to stand behind its correct decision to proceed, and keep this project on track.
We have plenty of green space in Cedar Lee; what we need is more customers, more residents, more tax revenue, more economic activity. Cedar Lee businesses have worked tirelessly to pivot and survive in these difficult times—please help us by moving forward with this development project now, to build and strengthen our economic futures. Killing this project will have the opposite effect.
I am aware that parking and traffic in the district are always issues. I am committed to working with the city and the developer to ensure that a comprehensive study of traffic and parking is performed, and that all issues and concerns are addressed. We can use current lots more efficiently, implement tailored parking zones, and install modern pay stations in place of antiquated coin-operated meters.
I believe the new residents and businesses this project will bring to our walkable district is the best way to build sustainable economic activity here, increase tax revenue, and help our community compete and grow!
I am committed to doing all I can to help make this development project a success, and I urge everyone to participate in the public input opportunities in the coming months for this game-changing project.
Destiny R. Burns is owner of CLE Urban Winery and a Cedar Lee resident.