Conceptually, the Grand Junction Park and Plaza project is awesome. The city is rehabilitating a long-ignored ecosystem. It also is developing an outdoor civic gathering space and an outdoor performing arts venue suitable for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
I’m more than a little concerned about the planning. Maybe you have heard the cliché, “When you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” At the Feb. 11 Westfield City Council meeting, several people asked questions about the plan that resulted in vague or generic answers. The only details shared about the $35 million in debt which will fund Grand Junction Park and Plaza was that current growth projections would cover the debt, meaning today’s Westfield is passing the debt on to tomorrow’s Westfield. If we experience another economic downturn like 2008, what is the plan?
When asked about the parking plan for this downtown amenity, the developer basically said that parking wasn’t part of the project plan and that someone would come along with a solution for parking later. The mayor said that this development will showcase “the real Westfield,” instead of the Westfield on the west side of U.S. 31. He also referred to the Grand Junction Park and Plaza as “Westfield’s legacy.” What is the plan for keeping property values and rents low enough in downtown Westfield to allow local businesses to thrive? Small businesses are already being priced out of Westfield. Grand Junction Park and Plaza will only cause property values and rents to climb as demand increases. How will Westfield “born-and-bred” small businesses afford to stay in the area?
As I said, the Grand Junction Park and Plaza is an awesome concept. At the public hearing on March 11, Westfield taxpayers should ask to hear the entire plan.
Westfield resident and Libertarian candidate for Westfield City Council