A professionally facilitated meeting on the 315 W. Ponce development was held at the Decatur City Hall Wednesday night. This blogger elected not to attend to leave enough space for those who have "dogs in the fight," as they say.
Thanks to Joe WInter, who was one of the roughly 55 attendees, for e-mailing this report:
This was an interesting meeting.
We began with a few presentations: the developer gave a brief summary of the project; a neighbor gave a summary of the history of the neighborhood's involvement and concerns; and someone from the city talked about what the next steps would be in the process.
Probably the most memorable quote of the evening came from the neighbor, who conveyed that she and the neighbors have always expected that the parking lot would some day be developed. She said that nobody is ever going to see that parking lot on that national register of historic places.
The facilitator had everyone working in small groups. I was a scribe for one of the groups. We worked first on two questions: What are your biggest concerns about this development? What are your greatest aspirations for this development?
For my group, it was difficult to get past the concerns. For other groups, I could tell it was clearly easier for people to discuss both of these questions and to address them very seriously.
After we were done listing out our concerns and aspirations, we were then asked a new set of questions. We were asked to pick one concern, and one aspiration. For each of those, what would we do if we were the developer to allay the concerns or meet the aspirations?
It was in that second portion of the meeting that everyone really worked hard to put their heads together, and there was a lot of good feedback from each of the groups.
Decatur Metro has an open thread with a photo and summary sent in by Scott, and a poll.
UPDATE: The AJC has an article now [forwarded by Carl Black]. The meeting lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes, so Otis White didn't quite earn $21/minute. Sounds like a good business to be in, but you have to build up your reputation.
UPDATE: Linda Harris e-mailed the upcoming steps to Nick @ Decatur Metro:
“The way the left it last night was that Otis was going to transcribe all of the notes (people sat in small groups and there was a scribe for each group who wrote the comments on a big tablet that was on an easel) and send them to everyone who had signed in. He said he would be discussing the next step(s) with Peggy and get back to everyone via email.”