It’s time to welcome Crocker Village to the neighborhood

I t is no small effort to be invested in a neighborhood, especially one with as much potential as Curtis Park. As we all know, what is now Crocker Village was once a vacant brownfield site.

As we watch the progress of Crocker Village and anticipate the future development by BlackPine Communities of more than 200 single-family homes, now is a good time to take stock and think about how we move forward as a community.

I’ve discussed these questions with Andi Liebenbaum, the new SCNA board president. Given my commitment to all of Curtis Park, here are my thoughts about what could be:

  • Ensure that Crocker Village residents feel like they’re part of the Curtis Park neighborhood.

I know that many who live on Crocker Drive do not feel a part of the Curtis Park community. Further, they feel some of the animosity against the developer has shifted to them. Until last December, these residents weren’t receiving Viewpoint.

I want to thank former SCNA President Eric Johnson for personally delivering the December Viewpoint and adding Crocker Drive to the delivery list. I was happy to see a number of Crocker Drive residents attend the SCNA annual meeting and receive a warm welcome when introduced. However, we need to do more.

In February, Andi and I went door-to-door, introducing (or reintroducing) ourselves to let the Crocker Drive folks know we’d like them to feel part of the neighborhood and SCNA. Andi also attended their monthly homeowners association meeting and connected with its leadership.

I have asked BlackPine President Mike Paris to co-host a few events with my office for all Curtis Park residents, to showcase plans for the upcoming residential development.

  • Create a process where potential problems are solved in a collaborative and amicable manner.

Given the size and complexity of the development, and the intense interest of many of our neighbors, questions and concerns will undoubtedly arise as we move forward. We were successful many years ago in coming to an agreement over issues surrounding the removal of heritage trees. My hope is to create a working group that could offer (non-binding) solutions when issues arise.

I would propose membership of the working group to include Mike Paris, two representatives of SCNA, two representatives of the Crocker Village homeowners association, and my office, with communication among these groups.

  • Learn from this experience–and improve it.

Clearly, there are many lessons learned from the past 12 years. I’d like those who have been most involved with the process to work with my office and City Urban Design Manager Bruce Monighan to develop a set of recommendations for the city in working with the planned unit development process. As the commercial and residential developments open and more activity comes from Crocker Village, let’s keep working toward effective and better projects.

Even with multiple lawsuits pending, I believe it is time to move forward. The Curtis Park community can come together.

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