We thought you all might like to look through this check list. While we have a lot of things to work on , we all agree that YES, Belmont is very good already, and is “becoming” a great city.
This a reprinted article from Project for Public Spaces (PPS):
Is Your City a Great City?
Take a look around your town with this checklist, to see how it measures up.
By Ethan Kent and Kathy Madden
In Great Cities…
Community goals are a top priority in city planning
· Citizens regularly participate in making their public spaces better and local leaders and planning professionals routinely seek the wisdom and practical experience of community residents.
· Residents feel they have responsibility and a sense of ownership for their public spaces.
· Neighborhoods are respected, fostered and have unique identities. There is a sense of “pride of place.”
· Public spaces are planned and managed in a way that highlights and strengthens the culture of a particular community.
The emphasis is on pedestrians, not cars
· Pedestrians and bicyclists are more numerous than vehicles (on at least some streets).
· Streets function as “places” and have numerous attractive destinations along them.
· Transit options are available to get to places where people want to go and are used by all kinds of people.
· Parking does not occupy most of the public space; free parking is difficult to find.
· There is a walkable commercial center convenient to every neighborhood that provides everyday needs and services (grocery store, pharmacy, library, medical services, coffee shop etc.)
New development projects enhance existing communities
· New developments, both public and private, are designed to include mixed uses and to be easily reached without using a private vehicle.
· Developments are human scale and connect with places to cut through rather than mega scale, internalized and islands unto themselves.
· There is a mix of new housing types and layouts that allows and encourages people to grow old there.
Public spaces are accessible and well-used
· There are public places within both neighborhoods and downtowns where people can gather informally and regularly.
· Parks feature attractions for people of different ages and are used at different times of day; they are more than simply recreation facilities.
· The waterfront allows people to actually reach the ocean, lake or river.
· Amenities (benches, transit waiting areas, etc) are comfortable, conveniently located and designed to support the intended use.
· Negative uses or users do not dominate the public spaces.
· Both children and seniors can easily and safely walk to where they want to go (e.g. children can walk to school, seniors can walk to movies, grocery stores).
Civic institutions are catalysts for public life.
· Schools are centrally located to support other neighborhood activity.
· The library is a multi-purpose and popular place where people go for many different types of activities. · Civic institutions (museums, community centers, hospitals, government buildings, etc.) have resources and activities that appeal to people of all ages and all cultures in the community.
Local economic development is encouraged
· There are many locally owned businesses-markets, mom-and-pop stores, street vendors, and larger independent stores; these local businesses are encouraged by the city; people know their retailers by name.
· The mix of locally owned businesses is such that at least some of them are “third places” -places where people can just spend time.
· Local businesses work with schools to provide internships or part time jobs.
Public spaces are managed, programmed and continually improved.
· The public realm is managed to maximize community interaction and to facilitate public outcomes.
· Spaces are managed to provide opportunities for generations to mix.
Keep Belmont Beautiful continues to serve the community through education and involvement.
A recent Gazette “submitted” article talked about a program delivered at North Belmont elementary school that was funded by a grant called, Planting the Seeds of Learning.
We applaud the efforts of the small group of volunteers, all neighbors and friends, who give their time to help KBB in its education and prevention efforts throughout Belmont.
Volunteers can help, and they don’t have to wait for designated “cleanup” dates to get involved.
When walking through town, take a paper bag or a recycled plastic (ok, Walmart, yeah) bag and pick up bits of trash as you walk. You can call Keep Belmont Beautiful to report your time walking and trash-pickup efforts and receive volunteer “credit”. KBB also receives recognition from the Keep America Beautiful for the number of volunteers who become engaged in beautification efforts.
So, how about it Belmont? Pick up a bit of trash as you gain fitness benefits by walking, and help keep this community we love clean and welcoming.
Belmont Middle School students, evoking memories of a past era of protests by young people, held their own rally at Stowe Park on January 15. A peaceful protest rally seeking to be heard in the town-wide discussion of behavior in the park and downtown area.
Spurred on by a growing animosity between hundreds of adolescents in the downtown area immediately after school and downtown merchants, Belmont police addressed all the parents via a letter.
The word got out that the city wanted the park emptied of young teens and that the kids were ‘banned from the park”.
As the BannerNews reported, albeit delayed by its posting on this site, the students were not “banned”, but were definitely given the message to “go elsewhere”.
Parks and Recreation opinion — set up surveillance systems to track troublemakers — not a good option.
Downtown Merchants opinion — get them out, or get them supervised — not particularly good, but better.
Belmont Police — we need more officers, we need more money — SOP response, also not productive.
Gaston County Schools’ — once the students leave our campus, they are no longer our responsibility — oooh-kaay, how productive is that?
The kids took matters into their own hands, and, voila’, a meeting occurs on January 16.
Way to go Teens!
We still stand by our original opinion, that all the groups need to dialogue/plan better afterschool options so that “bad apples” don’t spoil the adolescent need to “hang out” in public areas — and feel safe while growing up.
It does require the entire community to monitor. It does require individual families with children in this age group and school group to have open communication and supervision of the kids. It does require cooperation.