Veronica Stewart, Livermore

The trials and tribulations of the year 2020 have laid bare many things - most unsettling are the divisions and polarized positions within the community.

We need ways to maintain connections and create new ones, which weave the disparate threads of various groups of people together in a stronger social fabric.

City management plays an important role in creating an environment where residents interact in positive ways. One way is the use of a sophisticated approach to planning and designing public spaces with social goals in mind.

We have an opportunity to do this in our downtown project area with a cleverly designed public space. We already have a successful example in our beloved Lizzie Fountain - families gather there for kids to play, and they find themselves enjoying the company of strangers.

Imagine an area designed to attract senior citizens, youth groups, businesspeople on their lunch breaks, etc. - a place people go to enjoy and then leave with enhanced community connection and cohesion.  

A strategically designed public space in the heart of our downtown would be a bolster to the soul of this community, and at this juncture in time is needed.

However, the plans are to plunk down a massive apartment complex. It will be across the street from the 220 apartments going up on the Groth Bros lot. The apartments in the downtown project will each have one parking spot - which guarantees parking problems, frustration, and conflict. We are missing out on a chance to create a unique public space and the two things people said they wanted, parking and green, open space are not being addressed.

The project can be fixed by moving the apartment complex to another lot, so the amazing improvements that have already been made to the downtown can be topped off with a unique public space that will strengthen our community. We still have time to make our downtown amazing.