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New Construction Projects Are Coming To Downtown Coral Springs. What Will Their Design Say About The City?

CORAL SPRINGS, FL – I was listening to a show on NPR the other day.
A professional architect was discussing her design to put back together her civil war-ravaged hometown, Homs in Syria. One could look at it two ways. One is that everything has been destroyed. The other is the long, impressive history of this once grand, middle-ages city and the effort to reconstruct it by weaving a tapestry that would bring back in various ways this illustrious history in design. She has chosen door number two.
In a very human portion of the interview, she spoke of her 20-something daughter who, also a design major, had her two cents, or whatever currency Syria is now using, to put in. For her, the answer was clear. Dubai. Raise grand, sharp-angled glass towers. Building brand spanking new mixed-use facilities that would gleam in the sun. Create water designs where water hadn’t been for centuries. Since it’s mom’s contract, I suspect she will win but find an area to pay homage to her child’s thoughts.
Now to Coral Springs.
A movement is afoot by city officials, developers, and the public to “do something big” in the downtown. Two projects are already in the works at the intersection of University Drive and Sample Road: Cornerstone and City Village. What often happens in situations like this boils down to my mother-in-law’s dictum: “Powder and paint will make you what you ain’t.” Sometimes it worked for people. Rarely does it work for cities. Yet this is the perfect time, before much happens, that extended and extensive thought be given to what Coral Springs wants to be now and into the future.
Yes, there have been discussions and plans for this kind of thing. But are they citizen-driven? Do they have true input from all corners, all populations, of the city?
I hope so, but I bet there is plenty of room for more citizen contribution.
With the help of TAPinto Coral Springs publisher, I reviewed all the committees and commissions that are official parts of the government. It seems the Architectural Design Committee is where this should all start. How neat would it be if they made a design contest, one for a city plan, different ones for areas of the city that could hold special “splotches” of advanced design? The commission could appoint a citizen’s review committee to work with the commission and the developers. Or maybe a whole new, more comprehensive entity is needed. That’s for the commission to decide. Neither was, Rome nor Coral Springs, built in a day.
Either way, the worst idea is the letting of contractors do what might be very special projects by very special developers but taken together with have no theme, that in aggregate will say nothing about what Coral Springs thinks of itself and plans to do with itself.
This is a case where we all need to remember that the tortoise won the race.
 

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