Call to reopen courthouse plaza to traffic is bad idea

To the editor:

The Reporter featured a story about the proposed City of Greenfield Comprehensive Plan of 2015. The writer called the plan “soon-to-be-adopted,” but the Advisory Plan commission and the Greenfield City Council have not voted on the 122-page document.

There are many interesting proposals within the plan, and most would help businesses and residents. However, I do disagree with Site 5, Page 73, which would reopen South Street through the courthouse plaza.

This was suggested by two Bloomington consultants some time ago, but the Ball State consultant more recently employed emphasized gathering spaces. The courthouse plaza space is frequently home to a variety of local events. Some are the Greenfield Banking concerts, the Christmas and Riley festivals, Taste of Greenfield, Chalkfest, World Day of Prayer, Arbor Day, Veterans Day and school gatherings.

The width of the stage/shelter area likely would not allow for traffic. Greenfield Revitalization built the structures with mostly donated monies.

I do support allowing emergency-responders to use one lane of the plaza when needed, and I have seen that happen.

Two-lane or one-lane traffic on a new South Street would make State Street even more congested. The two one-way alleys between the plaza and the Pennsy Trail are helpful in accessing American Legion Place and the east, but vehicles going south on State are often backed up from the stoplight at State and Main.

The proposed South Street opening would be closer to the stoplight, and egress would be more impaired.

Some discussion had the city parking lot at Pennsylvania and South as a possible gathering space. It is not as attractive as the courthouse plaza, it may be needed in part for fire station expansion in the future, and more parking would be lost for business.

If a gathering space is made out of the North Street to Main Alley (the former Mount Street), more parking would be lost. However, the space could be used after business hours.

Cost is another factor in reopening South Street; however, no actual costs were projected.

When we have a beautiful, accessible and popular outdoor space, I think it should be kept rather than having monies spent on a less attractive space and street crowding the State-Main intersection even more.

Rosalie Richardson