To the Editor:
I am writing to add my name to the many neighbors and businesses that support the proposed “McMobil” site project put forward by Mesa Development. It is wonderful to have a developer with such a strong commitment to quality of community life interested in working in our community on this project and hopefully on more ideas for the future. Having attended many visioning meetings about what we as a community wished for 53rd Street, I know that the Mesa Development team also attended. I am pleased to see that their proposal shows that they listened to the concerns and hopes of the community. They heard the strong concern for more affordable housing and have committed to 15 percent on this project. They heard the concern about traffic congestion and have reduced the number of curb cuts out to the street from the current three to just one, will have all truck deliveries to the building done within the building with entry from the alley and not 53rd Street, and will have dedicated car sharing spaces and bicycle parking in their garage. They heard the fear about a tall building overshadowing the street to the north (note to Herald editorial writer — this building will not cast a shadow on the park!), and adjusted their design to pull the eastern part of the building forward, leaving a large portion of the parcel open, in order to minimize the impact on residents. They heard the wishes for a nice pedestrian experience on 53rd Street and designed an interesting, modulated sidewalk level and put active spaces at the front of the building on the parking levels so we would not have to look at a blank, parking garage wall. They heard how important the park is to residents and will now be putting many more watchful eyes in a position to have great views of the park and keep authorities informed of any unwanted activities. They heard local merchants explaining how the only way to support the kinds of businesses we all want to be in our neighborhood is to increase the population density. Thank you to Ald. Will Burns (4th) for supporting this project. I hope that our community can participate in this process in a constructive way, making reasonable suggestions for ways to tweak or improve the design, but appreciating the attention Mesa has already given to very diverse priorities already expressed by the community.
Marcy D. Schlessinger