A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

"The Process Stinks"

The above quote was repeated several times in last night's community meeting regarding the Maine State Pier's tortured quest for redevelopment.

A number of people in attendance - including this blogger - called for the entire process to be put out of its misery.

The City Council and prospective developers have given us plenty of reasons to start over: lousy public involvement, allegations of favortism, botched due diligence, name-calling, etcetera, etcetera. Citizens have lost a good deal of faith in our city government, and who knows how many legitimate developers will be frightened away from our city after this unholy spectacle.

The only way our Council can save face now is if it rejects both development proposals and begins again from the beginning with an open-source, public plan for this crucial resource in the city's working waterfront.

Starting with a public vision for the site would not only serve Portland better, it would also give developers more certainty as they proceed. As it stands now, the entire debate has been ruled by the increasingly unstable oligopoly of two development firms. Clearly, it's doomed to fail: let's start over and do it right, on our own terms.

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