Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Atlantic Beach District Plan

I refer to this plan as: If You've got Lemons, Make Lemonade. In other words, I love it!
My ideal plan would have involved constructing an overhead bridge (tram?) & shuffling drivers quickly out of here. It could then disapparate after summer. But that's never going to happen. So this plan is my second choice. If traffic is going to bottleneck here anyway, manage it better & make it pedestrian friendly. In other words, make it a stop-by instead of where are we now & how do we get out of here.
The presenter, David Wescott of the Maguire Group was outstanding!!! The plan has 5 basic elements:
1. Reconstruction of Aquid Ave. (sidewalks, plantings, etc.)
2. Gateways: welcoming pedestrian areas with driver directions - Dunlap Park & at Valley Rd.
3. Traffic improvements (more parking & improved intersections)
4. Parks- new park at Newport Ave. & improvement of Dunlap (including pedestrian bridge to Newport)
5. Others - business & zoning improvements, & local business assoc.
This area has been treated as Middletown's armpit for years. When I first relocated here in the 70's, it was just awful. This may be due to the fact that it is in a flood plan & no one wanted to invest $ here. It was also seen as a "summer only" location which in the 20's had been divided into many small lots. Thankfully, business owners/residents invested & improved the area. The State also did a bit of road work.
The irony is that this densely populated area has seen it's value rise faster than any other area in Midd. (except Indian Ave.) It brings in a LOT of tax $ for the town with little return. This plan goes hand-in-hand with improving Middletown's economic status in keeping/attracting high quality business here.
There were many in attendance supporting this plan - the Planning Board, residents, & Tina Dolan from the Aquid Is. Planning Board. Almost all of the $ for this plan came from outside
sources. What a great job the Planning Board did along with Maguire Assoc. who came up with the plan.
Total cost - $3.5 mil. Affordable. The town could do this now or in a phase-in. Right now this is a 2o yrs. plan. Twenty years? We could/should do it in 3.
So how did the Council receive this? Not well. Only "Tries Harder" DiPalma seemed receptive to the plan. He'd been to one of their community input meetings & liked the plan. The Prez & Councilwoman Mello were disappointed that traffic was not being moved through faster. The Prez was also concerned with costs & wanted more hearings with community input. Sounded like a "shot down!" to me. Hmm, it couldn't have to do with the fact that no Council members actually live here & perhaps consider it a drive-thru only.
The plan has no down sides & calls for improvements that should have been made here years ago. It's good for business, for inhabitants, & for visitors. Our area has coughed up plenty in tax dollars, a little return would be appreciated. And we want the beach pollution gone, too!
Stay tuned for more.

Matt Sheley's Daily Snooze article is here & Meaghan Wims of Projo is here.
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