APRIL 18, 2005

 All members of the Council were present when the meeting was called to order by the Mayor. There was an unusually large number of observers present. The spill-over was finally accommodated in several rows of chairs out in the lobby. Several State Legislators were present and were acknowledged. A special tribute was paid to former City Councilor John Haltom, who died recently.

 The first two items for discussion were fairly routine. The third item, a resolution to re-open the stretch of Main Street currently set aside for a pedestrian mall, was discussed until a vote finally occurred at 6 p.m. At least 30 people spoke for or against the plan, which is part of the larger plan to revitalize the downtown area. This is obviously a very emotional issue for many citizens of the area. Plans call for a modified "plaza" along the section of Main Street running from Griggs to Las Cruces Ave. Though this was the term used by the planners, what it means is that the wide sidewalks outside the existing buildings will be enhanced with free-standing sun shelters, many shade trees and ample area for walking and milling around. Two lanes would be allowed for traffic, but will be closed when the Farmers Market is being held. . Eventually, a true plaza will be constructed adjacent to this area and the Farmer's Market will be moved slightly away from Main Street.

 Costs were the major obstacle mentioned as well as required changes in traffic patterns. But, in the end, five members of City Council voted for the resolution and two, Councilors Strain and Trowbridge, voted against it.

 Another resolution, approving the removal of the block walls at the north and south ends of the mall was also passed.

Marnie Leverett

League of Women Voters