Some thoughts I’ve had recently about the downtown: The regional theater has been coming up in conversations and articles and whatnot recently, and I’m not sure why. First of all, it’s been referred to as the proposed theater when it was the approved regional theater as of the 4-1 vote here. The mayor was the lead cheerleader to push the project through.
The only reason it wasn’t built was a last-second raid on Livermore’s redevelopment funds by the governor. Otherwise we’d be into the 7th season this year. Any connection to the Central Park project is specious.
Joan Seppala has been taking some unfair heat over the downtown issue. I don’t know her real well, but enough to know she wouldn’t be telling her petitioners to act out and lie when getting signatures. To say SHE is attacking people is absurd. I’m not sure how people can criticize others for simply being thorough in exercising their constitutional rights to the fullest extent.
The city has been claiming transparency from the start of the project, but their actions say otherwise. One example took place with the workshops held a couple years ago. I’d heard that the presenter wasn’t exactly being neutral in his descriptions of the various plans, so I was curious to see how it was going. At the one I attended, the moderator, David Early, would recite his good and bad points of the various plans making it pretty clear what side he and the city preferred.
At this point, we at our group tables were instructed to draw out OUR best scenarios for the downtown layout with paper and crayons. In spite of all the prodding, at the end of the evening, the west side still came out ahead on the tally sheet for preference.
The hotel SHOULD be on the west side as it offers the most space for a full-service hotel with plenty of rooms and a restaurant. People staying at a hotel are usually new in town and may not have the time to find a place for breakfast and/or dinner. The existing east-side parking lot has the most convenient drop-off and ADA-friendly parking available for the Bankhead Theater and that would be lost if the hotel were to go there.
And lastly, the argument that the east side offers the only location for a PRESENCE for entering the downtown area from the north is without merit. A good architect team could do the same for the west side, and to say otherwise would be disingenuous.