Downtown Business Owners Concerned Over Revitalization
With the slumping economy, the downtown area has been affected as much, if not more than many other parts of Laredo. The City is working with a group from San Antonio on a revitalization of that area, but downtown business owners are concerned about the time frame of the project. Our Ryan Bailey has more.
When downtown owners heard revitalization, they thought things would move quickly. But now they are being told the plan will not finish for 30 years while they are concerned about today.
"Our concerns are centered around problems that need to be addressed, revitalized today, not plans 20 or 30 years from now."
The City has gotten a master plan from Kell Munoz, a San Antonio architect firm, that lays down a plan they see as being beneficial both in the short term and years down the road.
"I think we can move on parallel tracks to accomplish both."
The owners feel differently about the plan that was presented.
"It was nothing like what they had promised us, the business community and property owners of downtown. So we're very upset about this blatant waste of taxpayer money."
Part of the proposal calls for the closing of Convent Street and making that a mall area, an idea that one Laredo business owner says will not work.
"I suggested they abandon the idea of making Convent Street a pedestrian mall because pedestrian malls have been colossal failures everywhere and especially here in Laredo.">>
Another plan the city hopes to institute is making things easier on pedestrians at bridge number one, opening more lanes to make things quicker.
"We'd like to see at least four or five or maybe even more to be able to get people off that bridge."
Another idea is opening up the streets and making them all two ways instead of the maze it has become.
"That's the quickest thing the master plan could do to revitalize the important parts of downtown."
Whatever happens the owners in the trenches of that area hope to see movement and fast.
"Somebody’s that's trying to keep their store open today isn't really interested in a plan not rooted in reality and wouldn't be implemented 30 or 40 years from now."
The City Manager says the master plan is a necessary part of the revitalization of downtown so the City can get federal grant money to go towards this project. If you would like to learn more about the revitalization of downtown Laredo, you can go to rediscoverLaredo.com.