Sherwood losing small town charm
- Odge Gribble
- Sherwood Gazette - Opinion
In 1993, Carole Connell, planning director for the City of Sherwood, sent out a letter to the community called the Visual Preference Survey. This survey asked the citizens for input on their vision of the development of the city during the next 10 years with special concerns for the Old Town area.
The survey in which a large number of people participated, revealed that the majority of those responding listed open public spaces, tree-lined street and sidewalks, smaller people-friendly businesses, and single family homes.
What they didn't like were wide concrete boulevards, massive buildings that don't fit the neighborhood, congested traffic routes and messy alleys. We have all of these today.
Some of the proposals for the city in that survey included a transit mall development off 99w, developing desgin guidelines for the commercial structures that would enhance the plan for the whole city, cleaning up and paving the alleys, burying above-ground utility lines, increasing street trees and other landscaping, continuing to add parks, and narrowing the street width standards to slow the traffic through Old Town. Some of these goals we have accomplished.
In spring 2002, the firm of Conkling, Fiskum and McCormick, Inc., sent out a letter asking for citizen opinions about the progress of the city and their plans for the future. This was inregard to the street master plan, civic building and other development in old town.
The first question was, 'Do you feel things in the City of Sherwood are generally going in the right direction?' However, there was a 'general sense that the City is being ambitious in its plans, and expresses concerns about the potential over-promising, resulting in unmet expectations.' This has certainly come true today with our streets only partly done, with noe end in sight.
One of the points emphasized in the surveys returned was, 'The small town atmosphere is strongly endorsed as Sherwood's most important quality. Doing anything to lose that sense of community would be met with significant resistance.'
Since the early 1990s our town has grown by about 10,000 people, and new people always bring change, some good and some bad. Our schools are facing a crisis; with costs going up daily, the proposed bond measure for November will not be enough to build the facilities needed for the families moving in every week. The cost of materials is sky rocketing and estimates made today will be way off in November. However, we need new schools and our children need decent facilities, so we will just have to find a way to freeze the population growth until our resources could catch up.
The Saturday Market should be on everyone's calendar each week. There is so much to see and so many things to try. Not just produce, although that is really wonderful, but the crafts are varied and colorful, the floral bouquets gorgeous, and the music and street scene just plain fun. Some of the exhibitors have things at my shop, also, stop in and get a preview.
The Robin Hood Festival has a special guest this year, an archer from England will be delighting the crowds at the archery fields. Be sure and pick up a program with all of the events scheduled for the 14 and 15. It's one of the many festival that make Sherwood so special.