At city meetings open to the public, citizens and stakeholders raised concerns about the city’s plan to renovate Sixth Street. Carl Daywood, bar owner and Sixth Street Association board member, said some who attended the meetings failed to understand how the plan’s construction would affect area businesses.
“I think there’s a lot of misrepresentation and misunderstanding by the general public at these meetings,” Daywood said.
According to Daywood, the city’s plan will eliminate parking spaces, increase traffic and unnecessarily replace storm drains.
Bar owner Jason Carrier said 87 members of the association — 76 percent — are against the city’s plan.
“We want to get ahead of [the project’s implementation] and say, ‘Wait, wait, you may think this is a great idea, but it’s really not,” Carrier said.
According to Daywood, the association has proposed an alternate plan he said would preserve the historic nature of the district, including exposing the original brick streets and maintaining the historical architecture.
“We want to take [the street] back to the 1920s,” Daywood said. “We like the ambiance of the historical French quarter in New Orleans. Would you go back if they destroyed its historic nature?”
Carrier said the association will focus on informing the public that their alternate plan will not hurt business.
“We have the plan that will preserve the historic aspects of the area without having to tear up the streets — without putting local businesses out of business,” Carrier said.
Daywood said that so far no changes have been made to either the city’s design or the alternate design proposed by the association. He said the association hired independent consultants to work with the city’s team, which he hopes will alter the current design.
Susan Garnett, Capital Outputs program coordinator in the Public Works Department, said 30 percent of the project design is completed. According to Garnett, the estimated cost of the city’s current project design is $19 million, and the source of funding has yet to be determined.
In the next two weeks, Garnett said, the project team will ask for input from boards and commissions that show an interest in the project design.
“I cannot speculate as to what type of feedback will be given at these meetings, nor do we have any comments to provide on the updates the Sixth Street Association has made to their alternate plan,” Garnett said.
“If it’s the people who actually own the buildings and that’s their livelihood, then maybe we should listen,” Carrier said.