Regarding the proposed development on the Cole Shop property, it is important to realize that the property is and has been for years already zoned – permitting uses which would not be preferable to many downtown residents.
This was a large industry which was the county's biggest employer for years. The traffic and noise it generated was a part of everyday life downtown. The property will be developed. I was told many years ago when trying to save a house on Jackson Street to either buy it or work to get something there that I could live with. The planning commission did not do its job if they did not discuss alternatives to the proposal to pass on to the city council.
Personally, I would like to see the one acre separate lot on the neighborhood side of the tracks developed as a park for the termination of the LINC path. The design of the buildings on East Broad Street do not blend adequately with the design of the existing downtown buildings. This is a good spot for the proposed mixed commercial use because the tenants would be visible to all traffic on East Broad, thus would actually expand the downtown commercial area.
I would like to see lesser density but would trade that for the proposed restoration of the old R.D. Cole Office building for rental office space and the saving of the separate lot for the community.
This project should be seen as an opportunity and not an adversary.