Rethink plaza location before it’s too late

This letter is in regard to the downtown New City Plaza planned for the parking lot behind the Owl Cafe.

I live in Lincoln and I frequently travel to downtown Alpena, park in that lot, and shop at the local businesses. I am concerned about the city planning on eliminating the parking lot to provide more space for the planned outdoor plaza and fountain.

This past May, I was taking a class at the Loft and I expressed concern about future parking and was told “I guess you will have to walk.” I looked around the painting class and most of the attendees were over 60 years old. When the clientele is comprised of primarily senior citizens, parking should be a concern. If a senior citizen has to carry multiple items and walk several blocks, this can become a safety concern. Especially in Winter.

I am 69 years old and have weak knees from arthritis. I would think twice about coming to Alpena’s Downtown and carry packages or supplies to/from those businesses.

I find it suspicious that the city would choose to remove the primary parking lot in the downtown area to construct a plaza and fountain, when there is a vacant property behind that lot that is on the waterfront for sale. It has been vacant 30 years, and was sold a year or so ago for about three times less than the asking price, and is now being marketed as a place to put in a parking lot.

The City Planners should think twice about this whole fiasco before it all blows up in their faces and the downtown area businesses suffer. If parking is not easily accessible, people will not visit those businesses, nor will they come to the proposed plaza, and all of Alpena suffers.

Anne Sonnenberg