Community Has Say on Northcenter Town Square Redesign

By Patrick Butler

It was only the first community meeting on the redesign of the Northcenter Town Square, but before the March 29 kickoff session was over, there were at least 40 comments and suggestions during the two-hours at the St. Benedict High School Gymnasium, 3941 N. Bell.

Questions ranged from how to make the place dog friendly without turning it into a dog park to whether to replace the current concrete with grass.

One resident urged Andrew Moddrell of PORT Urbanism landscaping to find a happy medium between lighting that’s too dim and too glaring.

Another wanted the park designed to be a place for as many different types of people as possible  – not an especially challenging request, considering the Town Square has routinely been used for everything from an Irish Christmas market to a rally for refugees.

Others hoped ways could be found to make the Town Square “more of a place where you can hang out.”  Maybe “with tables and chairs that won’t walk away and aren’t exactly like sofas or beds,” Moddress chuckled.

Moddrell said “we’re also trying to learn more about a plaque honoring World War I veterans dedicated on Nov. 11, 1941 – less than a month before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that plunged the United States into a another, even bigger World War.

After asking everyone to fill out a questionnaire about what they’re looking for in a revitalized Town Square, “we’ll bundle up what we hear, and return with some options for you to consider,” Moddrell told the more than 50 neighbors who turned out for the brainstorming session.

“We’re looking at about 15 weeks on this before we return.  Before this is over, there will probably be two more meetings,” Moddrell said.

This is just the start, he promised.

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