Barrie Advance - Letter to the Editor May 24th, 2011
BARRIE - Many ideas shared with Barrie City Council in past end up filed under the heading "things we don't have money for".
There is one other category at Barrie City Hall for ideas. I'd like to see the following two on that list at least long enough for some public feedback and due consideration.
That other category is "things we can't afford to do but we're going to do anyways".
First, the city should acquire that detracting contaminated dirt patch that sits at our Five Points and convert it into a proper town square complete with a fountain, benches, food vendors, a downtown police community kiosk, perhaps a broadcast booth for a local radio station, and a corner stage for music and theater activities sponsored by the new theater across the street.
All of this lit up at night by revenue generating electronic billboard signs much like the now busier than ever, revitalized Dundas Square in Toronto. It could be a place where New Year's Eve and other events can be held much like Times Square in New York.
Finally, you’d have a magnet drawing all of the community rather than just a select few to the downtown of Barrie, something that will complement the market proposed for our current bus terminal building, rather than further contrasting Dunlop Street with other areas of the city.
And secondly, has anyone seriously considered for more than a couple minutes how turning Dunlop Street from Bayfield Street to Mulcaster Street into a treed cobblestone promenade with outdoor cafes and patios would attract millions of dollars and a whole new breed of retail and service vendors with little impact to traffic flow?
In cities where this has been done people don't avoid them because parking right on the street isn't an option, they are instead grateful to park as close as possible, much the way we are at the shopping mall.
The new theater will serve some of the public for a few hours a week. A downtown promenade and city square is the logical next step for downtown as it will serve all of the people all of the time and better yet it will prove to be an ongoing financial asset for Barrie solving many of the issues that have stifled us for too many years.