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LETTER: Save the city's unique character from too much housing development

To the Telegram: This letter is in response to the controversy over housing on Barker's Island. When looking at this question of development on Barker's Island, I think the council members of Superior need to ask themselves and the developers; ar...

To the Telegram:

This letter is in response to the controversy over housing on Barker's Island. When looking at this question of development on Barker's Island, I think the council members of Superior need to ask themselves and the developers; are we enhancing Superior or is this solely for profit?

There, Barker's Island is something that gives Superior some sort individuality. There has been a push in the last decade to turn our cities away from these large unattractive developments. I think it would benefit Superior and the image of the city to keep this area as a unique neighborhood. These neighborhoods disappear daily at the hands of these large developments that devalue the individuality of a city's neighborhood.

Many contemporary urban planning can be traced back to the ideas of Jane Jacobs. Jacobs has written on of, if not the most, influential pieces in urban planning of our time. In her book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," Jacobs advocated dense, mixed use neighborhoods. What she didn't mean was filling a tiny are such as Barker's Island with hundreds of people. Her writings and ideas portray neighborhoods that are dense harmonious neighborhoods. This is what Barker's Island has now and this development is something completely contradictory to Jacobs idea of what a dense harmonious neighborhood would look like.

This idea of "Super Sizing" Barker's Island doesn't make sense when looking at other issues such as traffic either. This is not an area that can handle such an increase in automobile traffic. It's a traffic issue as much as a safety issue. Where would the parks and yards be for the kids? The road? Is that where Superior is trying to get their children to play? This area does give the city some individuality and putting this amount of housing and traffic there wouldn't do anything but lessen that. Maybe while there are developing it, they could add a bar every 100 feet and now the whole town would have that same look down every street.

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I don't live on Barker's Island. I am a new professional to the area and would like to see Superior do something different to preserve that neighborhood feel on Barker's Island. I also understand that many people believe it is the extremely wealthy that are trying to separate themselves from everyone that doesn't live on the Island. What they are trying to protect is the uniqueness of that neighborhood. Take the time to meet these people. They have worked there whole lives to get where they are and we should all be so lucky to have the drive and knowledge that these individuals have.

I think Superior needs to take a look at some contemporary urban planning ideas and maybe rethink how, and if they even want to develop this area that is so distinctive to Superior.

-- Nick Mueller,

Duluth

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