Regarding your June 30 editorial “ Raleigh’s downtown needs a summit on its future”: We thank you for sharing our goal of continuing to improve Raleigh’s downtown. Your recommendation to convene a downtown summit is worth considering. The suggestion, however, may overlook the breadth of participation in a summit that is ongoing.
The City of Raleigh – in partnership with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance – has conducted surveys and convened several public meetings for the purpose of developing a refined plan for downtown. We have a brilliant planning firm on board, Sasaki Associates, that is helping us take hundreds of ideas from constituents and turn them into recommendations to turn downtown Raleigh into a great experience – the kind that residents of this city are saying they want.
Every single concern you listed has also been mentioned by plan participants, so our process appears to be ahead of the commentary. In the end, there will certainly be more public discussion and even broader comment when the committee presents the draft plan to the City Council.
Moreover, the City Council appointed a 33-member citizens’ advisory committee to ensure that the community at-large is welcomed into the process. Committee members represent a wide range of interests, perspectives and neighborhoods. More than 1,000 people have attended our visioning sessions.
The city has a website dedicated solely to the planning process that has yielded 16,752 page views and 5,193 unique visitors. There are now 1,600 subscribers to the downtown plan section of the site. This planning effort has been about as democratic as a public discussion can possibly be.
We are happy to announce that the community will also have the chance to talk about the downtown plan in September during SPARKcon, when we share preliminary recommendations. SPARKcon attracts thousands from throughout the city and beyond and is a perfect venue for even more of the “broad look” that you are seeking. As has been true from the start, everyone is welcome.
Chair, Downtown Plan Advisory Committee
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the editorial.