Question 1 is an effective, forward-thinking action to protect public land, through which the fate of Congress Square is tied.

When it comes to development, consider this: “For every solution, there are unforeseen consequences.” It is an important design tool to explore these what-if scenarios.

Are we sure that Portland needs more privately programmed space? What if one unforeseen consequence is that the Holiday Inn’s function rooms lose revenue? We could end up with an empty hotel on the opposite side of the museum.

Has the city also considered how this currently unsafe area for pedestrians and cars would handle more of both? What do we gain? More importantly, what do we stand to lose?

Perhaps what Portland needs to attract convention planners to the city is a facilitated network of spaces that allow for various smaller venues around the city to be used for a conference. As people walk or shuttle among venue locations, such as Merrill Auditorium, the various hotels, the University of Southern Maine or the eastern waterfront, such a network would be more likely to create revenue for local shops. This seems to be a better fit for the scale of our city.

Just a few months ago a benevolent gentleman, Franklin Talbot, designated a $50,000 gift for the betterment of the city parks. These donated funds could lay the groundwork for an improved design implementation. From there, the private and public interest of funding Congress Square’s redesign is alive and well.

With this election and a “Yes on 1,” we create an opportunity to right this wrong. The power here is with the people. You do have a voice. Let it be heard.

Jeanne Paterak


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