Saturday, July 9, 2011

Special Meeting Tuesday, July 12th Re: Intermodal Transportation Facility and the Neighborhood Improvement District

Posted by: Noël Jones

This is going to be an important--and interesting--meeting at City Hall this week.

The first topic up for public feedback in this special meeting called by the City of Easton is the proposed intermodal facility, that would replace the parking garage on Third Street downtown and extend in a far larger complex to cover the lot of the old Perkins and the old Majestic Theater. The proposed facility would include a bus station, a parking deck, a high school hall of fame, retail space, and an outdoor plaza.

The second topic up for discussion is the proposed Neighborhood Improvement District, which is a plan the city has proposed for raising taxes on downtown properties to cover the expense of keeping the
Ambassadors of Easton--the nice folks in the red shirts that going around keeping our downtown looking great and answering people's questions--now that grant funding that has so far been supporting the program has been cut. Now, I'd have to say that 95% of the people I've talked to agree that the Ambassadors are terrific, that the downtown hasn't looked so good in years, and that we need to find a way to afford to keep them--it's just that residents disagree as to how that money should be raised. Some agree with the city and are willing to pay higher taxes to cover the expense, while others say that higher tax rate will be a deterrent to new residents and business owners investing downtown, and they say that the money can and should be raised privately.

The only person I've heard say that we don't need to do either, is Mike Krill, who is the Republican candidate running against Sal Panto for mayor. In my interview with Krill before the primary, he expressed a desire to see residents and business owners all pitch in to keep the downtown clean themselves. Krill also had a lot to say about Mayor Panto's proposal to build and intermodal facility--so the reason I say it will be an interesting meeting is that it's probably going to be one of Krill's better chances to talk to the public and state his case, so I hope that he makes it.

I don't know how many more public meetings there are going to be on these two projects, so if they are of interest to you, I urge you to clear your calendar and make it a priority to attend, and speak up, regardless what side you're on.

The meeting will be on Tuesday, July 12th, in the Alpha Building at One South Third Street, 6th Floor, at 6pm.

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