Thursday, May 03, 2007

Overlay-Over-Morgan-Park Update

I heard back from Ben Mosley via Historic Germantown Neighborhood President Stacy Mosley, who tells me that the Morgan Park e-mail was sent earlier but did not reach me because of some network problems. Here is Mr. Mosley's reply to my Sunday queries:
Yes, as proposed the Historic Overlay Boundary includes Morgan Park. Inclusion of Morgan Park in the Historic Overlay is not a land grab or sign of ownership (as you point out it is a public park). Its inclusion in the boundaries of a Historic Overlay is to protect the existing historic building and its scale and protect and preserve the parks continued use by the entire North Nashville community which it serves. If approved Morgan Park will join Centennial Park, Warner Parks, Elmington Park, East Park, among others with Landmark status. What does this mean? Metro Parks (which currently consults with Metro Historic Commission as a courtesy) would undergo a design review and approval process for new projects. Its designation as Landmark Status will not affect the Park Departments upgrades – arguably elevation of the park to Landmark status might send a clear message just how important the park is to the community. We all use the park – and members of the neighborhoods on all sides of the park have struggled for many years to restore, preserve, improve and some even stroll though the park. Our hope is that will continue.
As you can see, HGN has good intentions in the overlay, which is what I was hoping for.

Now, it seems to me that the wise course is to bring Salemtown residents and the Salemtown Neighbors Neighborhood Association on board with regard to the process of protecting Morgan Park. This is something that should have happened last summer and autumn, but did not. Everyone in the North End who has a stake in Morgan Park, including Salemtown families who want good playgrounds and ballfields to go along with botanical gardens and greenways, should be included in this process. It will only make Germantown's efforts more legitimate in the long run.

President Mosley tells me that there was a public meeting held on May 1 at 6:00 for all affected property owners and that my question was brought up and answered at that meeting. The primary problem with that is that I was sitting in Metro Council chambers from 6:00 to 11:00 on May 1 with a dozen other affected property owners from Salemtown fighting for balanced zoning at 6th and Garfield. I suggested to the President that holding a public meeting on a Metro Council Public Hearing night was ill-advised.

But the deeper problem is that if a meeting is public and open to the affected property owners, then those property owners should be contacted beyond just posting the information on the HGN website. Many affected property owners in Salemtown do not have computers. I would never have known about any of the overlay meeting if I did not do some research for my writing about neighborhoods. Expecting a representative turn-out with insufficient publicity is too much to ask, in my opinion.

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