Archive: August, 2002

Latest News August 23, 2002

Latest News August 23, 2002

Latest News (August 23, 2002): Andres Duany, internationally renowned designer/planner, founder and principal advocate for “New Urbanism,” addressed the Temple Terrace CRA and a large assembly of citizens at the Lightfoot Center on the 22nd of August. Mayor Barford, the entire City Council (CRA), the STAR committee, prominent community leaders, state and county politicians and active members of the voting public were in attendance. Mr. Duany came to Temple Terrace at the request of the CRA and through the intercession of our friends and neighbors, including Don Cooper and Grant Rimbey of Cooper Johnson Smith, Architects, Inc. and the efforts of City Manager Kim Leinbach.

Mr. Leinbach opened the meeting with a summary and overview of our progress. Our City Manager mentioned the designation of the redevelopment area in 1999, the formation of the CRA on May 14, 2000, the focus on revitalizing the central business district in 2001, and the formation of STAR (Strategic Teamwork and Redevelopment) in 2002. He called the SE Quadrant a “STAR” project and mentioned the appraisals and efforts to put those properties under the control of the city, including the recently completed agreement for the Kash N’ Karry property.

DPZ’s Matt Shannon introduced Andres Duany who proceeded to describe the historical and geographic context of Temple Terrace, beginning with the purchase of the land by the Potter Palmer family as a recreational estate in the early part of the 20th century, and eventually sold to a group named the Temple Terrace Community. Duany praised our city’s location, its famous oaks, and the beauty of the river, and the original design created in the vintage age of city planning, the 1920s. He emphasized that Temple Terrace had only three years (1922-1925) before the economic bust, and urged us to be the generation that completes the process.

Mr. Duany articulated the three options for the city: 1.) Developer initiated; 2.) City subsidy and 3.) City-initiated master plan followed by developers’ bids. He emphasized that these are all viable possibilities, but we need to decide which one is best. He reviewed and critiqued our downtown area, and showed good and bad examples of community design. He defended the idea of city planning by pointing out that the first act of the United States Congress was to acquire property in Washington, D.C. in order to create our nation’s capital city, at the request of President George Washington in 1791 for Pierre-Charles L’Enfant to design a city on the banks of the Potomac river.

(Ed. Note: The plan, now in the Library of Congress, was kept by Washington in his personal papers until 1796 when he turned it over to the city commissioners).

Duany clarified ideals in city planning and noted the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, best known as the landscape designer for New York’s Central Park.

(Ed. Note: According to the book A Clearing in the Distance, one of Olmsted’s best designs was for the City of Buffalo, planned originally in 1804 by the brother of the successor to L’Enfant in Washington. Olmsted had to do a lot of talking “privately and publickly” [sic] to materially advance the “parks” project more than fifty years later in the 1860s. Several sites had to be acquired by the city. The result was not merely a park, like Central Park in NY, but a system, under Parisian influences. His original plan had a network of parks, parkways, avenues, and public spaces that represented “a degree of sophistication in city planning previously unknown in the United States.” p. 289)

Andres Duany spoke clearly and effectively about “neighborhood structures,” “smart growth,” “amenitization,” “front green” versus “backyard areas,” the “molting” of a city, and the “mind-numbing sameness” of the dueling drugstores at too many suburban corners, including our own. He paused for effect, and said that if we demanded something better we could get it, because he has seen higher quality architecture from the same “big-box” pharmacy chains. He showed a slide of a typical convenience store and called them “small atomic power plants” that reduce property values. He suggested that we need another “Main Street” within the new development area since 56th and Bullard have been lost due to their status as thoroughfares. He proclaimed that Temple Terrace has the potential to be the next great city, a model for others, and that the acreage available for development is more than adequate for what we want to do. He implied that we might look beyond that parcel to the adjacent apartment complex in our long-range planning, and that his design plan would also help to codify future construction and renovation.

As we know, the value of our redevelopment in Temple Terrace has increased already merely because Andres Duany has addressed it. Mr. Duany made a convincing presentation. He was at the podium for over two hours, answering questions until everyone who wanted to ask had an opportunity to address him personally. When asked about the city’s financial exposure and costs, he reiterated the notion in Kevin Lawler’s report that the city must get the property under control, not own the properties outright, and then developers will be eager to line up to give us value in return.

Mr. Duany charmed the crowd with his patience, insight and clarity of his vision. He commended our decisive effort to move the Performing Arts Center from the river site, and incorporate it into the revitalization plan. Andres believes that the river views in Temple Terrace are unique, and far superior to ocean views. In his opinion, the Riverhills site should be integrated into the area as a park, preserving nature’s beauty and the green areas we admire so much. We should all do our part to transform these thoughts and ideals into reality, encouraging our civic leaders to continue working in a positive direction.

Latest News August 5, 2002

Latest News August 5, 2002

August 5 2002: The Temple Terrace City Council has wisely decided to accept the offer of Andres Duany, internationally acclaimed designer/architect, to make a public presentation about his firm, DPZ, and his potential involvement in the creation of a master plan for the SE Quadrant of Busch and 56th Street. Mr. Duany is one of the founders of New Urbanism, and author of the book, Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. Andres Duany of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company will make a presentation at the Lightfoot Recreational Center, 10901 56th Street on Thursday, August 22nd, 2002 at 7:00 PM.

Mr. Duany developed the comprehensive master plan for the city of West Palm Beach and is currently working on a similar plan for Madiera Beach. Although most of his work for WPB had to do with the downtown and waterfront areas, the developers and architects of CityPlace followed the guidelines in Duany’s plan. For example, CityPlace is shown only as a “vacant church” under a Type III (medium building) regulating plan, but that church was converted into a beautiful theatre, the centerpiece of the final development (see picture below). Among Duany’s other credits are Seaside in Florida, which also has a theatre; Mashpee Commons on Cape Cod, which includes a bank and a post office along with private residences, offices and retail establishments and the 5th Ave. S. shopping district in Old Naples.

We believe that creating design guidelines for the SE Quadrant is a critical step, and our city must involve citizens in this process. Temple Terrace may benefit greatly from Mr. Duany’s expertise in advancing the planning and design process, just as Kevin Lawler illuminated the financial path. Mr. Lawler’s presentation in May gave us an idea of the costs and risks of the downtown revitalization project, yet he did not take the opportunity, nor was he asked, to provide a visual display as he did this past September at his first workshop with the city. Nothing much has happened in the way of design and planning in the months since then.

Right now we have only a financial blueprint for the SE quadrant, and we do not have a cohesive plan or a clear picture of what it is going to look like when it is finished.

Mr. Duany may help to answer many of our questions about the integration of public and private buildings in developing the proposed site, help us make decisions on sizes and types of buildings and the relationships between civic functions, private residences, pedestrian pathways and green spaces. Our city must have public involvement in design charettes and workshops in order to develop a more complete master plan. It may produce a vision with only an outside chance of working economically. Regardless, we desperately need to create and impose design, code and regulatory guidelines in a feasible plan for this project to work. We must have professional guidance and citizen involvement.

A major principle of New Urbanism has to do with pedestrian areas designed for people who live close to where they work. In high-traffic areas it may be necessary to modify the New Urbanist neighborhood approach, since it is unlikely that the city will be able to decrease the presence of automobile traffic at that intersection when we take into account the widened “race track” aesthetics of the new Bullard Parkway.

Many of us believe that Temple Terrace needs a viable design plan beyond the 17-acre site. We often hear talk about changing the look of all four corners of that major intersection. Perhaps now is the time, and Mr. Duany is the one, to begin the process that will eventually take us beyond the currently not-so-friendly confines of that notorious SE Quadrant.