No fooling this time: On Monday, April 7, the Fairbanks City Council will hold a public hearing to consider endorsing the Vision Fairbanks plan for downtown’s revitalization. While your testimony of support is welcome, plan supporters can also help out just by showing up: Come at 7:00 Monday evening, wear a blue shirt to show your support, and let them be overwhelmed by our numbers!
While it’s ultimately the Borough Assembly that will vote to adopt this plan, the endorsement of the City Council is essential: it is supposed to reflect the will of Fairbanks, where this project should (and hopefully will) take place. It has already received the endorsement of the Borough Planning Commission, which recommended it unanimously.
If you’re not already a supporter of Vision Fairbanks, let me suggest a few reasons you should be:
- It will bring business to downtown and to Fairbanks. Even though the plan hasn’t been officially approved, a major gas station chain has already expressed interest in buying property in the development area: they are fully aware of the plan, and they want in on the business it will bring. Statewide and national organizations will want to bring their conventions here, since (according to the plan) a combination hotel/convention center will be built along Cushman just north of Airport Way.
- It will give us attractive, useful civic space where we can meet and engage with our fellow citizens. Our First Amendment right to peaceable assembly means little if we have no places to assemble that are easy to reach and pleasant to spend time in. Fred Meyer is not civic space. But a downtown designed for pedestrians — with parks, wide sidewalks, a public park square, and meaningful destinations — is.
- It is a plan for social justice. Our current city planning favors segregated land uses, which demand a large expense of time and money as people just get from one distant place to another. But not all people can afford to spend 15-30% of their household income on a car. With a mix of retail, commercial, civic, residential, and recreational uses, downtown will become a complete, walkable neighborhood to those who live there and a one-stop destination to those who don’t.
If you’d like to know more, I have written two other posts on the virtues of Vision Fairbanks: the Action Alert for the previously-scheduled (but canceled) City Council meeting, and my prepared testimony for the Planning Commission, on the “Fairbanks Citizenship Tax“.
Help make downtown a wonderful, worthwhile place to be. Help give us a city center to be proud of. Show your support this Monday.