The flare-up about the sale of City People’s and the effort to stop the construction of a building with a PCC market reminds me of a similar effort in Madison Park several years ago. The city wanted to remove the fence at North Beach (Swing Park) which is on 43rd Ave East, just north of East Madison. The residents of the Park, particularly the ones in surrounding residences, were up in arms.
People were concerned about traffic, that kids would drown in the lake with no fence and that it would attract all kinds of people day and night and that the city’s effort would destroy the neighborhood. The opposing group against even hired a bus to take people to a city hearing on the subject.
Amazingly, and rightly, the city went ahead with the project and none of the adverse results that were feared happened. The area is now beautiful, and an asset to Madison Park and no one has fallen off of the rocks and drowned either. We haven’t heard from these people since. The current effort to save Madison Valley sounds very much like the failed “STOP” effort in Madison Park.
The big difference is that today we have Nextdoor and Facebook where people can rant and rave in real time, and say that “the sky is falling.” Most recently I read that some stores in the Valley were not going to renew their lease, but isn’t it possible that Valley businesses might benefit from the PCC? Yes, there are other grocery stores in the East Madison corridor, they will adjust to the PCC, and some may even lower their prices. Grocery stores come and go, and there have been a lot of them in East Madison. The Cafe Flora location was once a market and Madison Park even had a Safeway at one time. Some people have expressed concern about the PCC taking the retail space. If not the PCC, then who would you rather have there? Businesses in America have the right to move where they want — the volume of business will determine if it survives. For example, there was Bill the Butcher in the Valley. Did anyone get up in arms when they opened or when they closed?
Change isn’t always easy, but change can be good too. It’s going to happen, and we need to work with those trying to bring about change, not just try to stop it. The participation of the Save Madison Valley group in the review process is important and will make this a better project for the Valley and East Madison. There are many valid concerns about this project such as parking, traffic, transportation, and the safety of the structure which must be addressed in the review process by the participation of those for and against the project. We can have a say by participating in the process. Saying NO WAY or “Not In My Backyard” will not give us a voice in what will happen in Madison Valley!
Reg Newbect is a resident of Madison Park.