Thursday, May 23, 2013

MAPC Meeting - What's Next for Downtown Lynn?

That was the question raised at the meeting tonight hosted by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) at the Lynn Museum. The answer?  Well, that's a little harder to define. The fixes needed for our Downtown are "all of the above" on most questions, but it was exciting to see a few things bump out from the data presented tonight and the questions answered by the crowd.

To get up to speed on what MAPC has been doing in Downtown Lynn, check out the Downtown Lynn project page on the MAPC website.

The night centered around a presentation where the audience was handed remote controls so we could all answer many questions about our Downtown while remaining anonymous. It was an effective way of getting the pulse of the room. There were translators giving spanish translations over private headsets which brought a voice to the table often left out of many of our community dialogues.

It was nice to have business leaders, residents (downtown, other parts of Lynn, and non-Lynners), candidates, media, planning experts, real estate professionals, arts leaders, and even children all in one place to talk about Downtown.  Tonight wasn't about coming to conclusions about things based on the answers we saw on the screen, but it was another data point in the search for what's important for Downtown Lynn's future?

What do you see as important to Downtown's success moving forward?

Themes tonight centered around zoning changes, more retail/restaurants, more residents, and more beautification projects. In one series of questions, the number of people in the room who would live downtown went from 20% to 60% just on the basis of getting some new amenities here.  Ok, maybe that's obvious. But being in the room, we saw a 40% change in attitude just after getting the room to think of a few possibilities for the Downtown.

Over the next few months, the MAPC will be taking data from these various meetings and their studies of the Downtown Data Walk, assessors data, and reviews of zoning, etc and making a series of recommendations to our City. I look forward to this and the resulting action on our city's part to start affecting change.

The city has been great at studying itself. Now is the time for real change. Let's delete our zoning code and start over. Period. Let's stop suggesting things like the proposed site plan review ordinance that will make it even more difficult to do business in Downtown Lynn. These are things that do not cost money, just cost a little brain power and a little courage to let our city grow.

The night opened and closed with Da Lyrical Geni, Walnut, asking us all to "come a little closer."  Together we can achieve powerful things for this great place we all love so much.


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