Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fighting for the Inevitable Inner Arbor

There will be some point in time when the Inner Arbor will have seemed inevitable.  It was the right thing to do at the right point in time.  Successes will mount.  Challenges will shift from internal to external.  This will become the park we all expected and deserve.

Maybe we're already there.  That's what I was wondering while sitting at the "Unabashed Designers of Delight" presentation on Monday.  There will always be resistance, as there should be, to sharpen the tool and result in the best overall outcome.  But the resistance can, and has, changed from existential threats to constructive criticism.  For me, that is something to marvel.

Because for those of you who were there on Monday, this felt big.  We were no longer thinking big.  We were living big.  I was not able to stay for the entire presentation, but speaker after speaker, renowned architect after renowned architect, it felt like Inner Arbor had taken on its own heft; its own substance.  No longer a lingering motion or an entry in the capital budget, the Inner Arbor project knew what it wanted to be when it grew up and we were in a position to help it get there.

Please don't read any of this to be in ignorance of the challenges.  We still need to figure out balances between internal management and transparency; cost and expectation; art and functionality - the list goes on.  But putting myself back in January and February of this year, those are welcome challenges to face.

Since February 2013, I have hoped that the community could come back to some form of consensus on what we expect out of Symphony Woods.  There will never be 100% agreement, and those who advocate for as much share company with obstructionists, but there is a plane for cooperation so long as both sides show room for compromise.

In many ways, I fault myself for the discord that resulted shortly after the vote on the Inner Arbor last winter.  I blame myself for the results of the Village Election in 2013.  Despite taking a heavy dose of criticism on this, even from those who agree with the ultimate outcome, I would not have done anything differently.

There are no "correct answers" in matters of public concern.  I think that's what gets us so  heated.  We are the mice who can't get to the cheese - that "correctness" that makes math so satisfying, food taste good, and maps lead home.  All we ever get to is a point in time where those hard-fought outcomes seem inevitable.  For good or for bad, this was how it was always going to be. 

Have a great Wednesday doing what you love!