Plaza will be a gathering place for our future

A fire pit and sprinkler park, a ship’s mast and portholes that double as high technology screens – these are some of the ideas unveiled Thursday for the proposed plaza in downtown Alpena.

The ideas are intriguing, the concept unique and the potential, exciting.

Admittedly, reality for the plaza is a long way away but the community now has a better idea of the potential that exists for it. If constructed, the plaza is proposed for the municipal parking lot behind the Owl Cafe.

The plaza would be intended as a “gathering place” for residents and visitors to relax, visit or just unwind for a bit from the hectic world around them.

Now that plans have been made public, city officials will gather input about reaction to the concept.

Two issues still will need addressed should officials decide to move forward. The first is money to pay for the park, while the second is how to accommodate the parking that will be lost with the plaza’s construction.

Interestingly, it might be the parking issue that provides the greater challenge. Currently a parking study is being conducted and information from it will be known in the weeks ahead. Findings from it might help shed insight as to how the city could address that critical issue.

Meanwhile, it’s time for residents to envision what the plaza would look like. So sit back and dream of cool water in summer and crackling embers in winter.

With a little imagination, who knows!