Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Final Word on Hannah Court: Success!

Removal of the dam on the Roanoke River crossing at Hannah Court is underway^

It looks like we have a solution to the Hanna Court burhaha. Chris Chittum of the Roanoke Planning Department, a guy who lives in this neighborhood and loves it (his wife runs the Grandin Theatre) listened and responded to the concerns of those who want Hannah Court to become a park, a small respite along the Roanoke River Greenway. Good for Chris and good for us.

Here's a note from Jim Crawford--who got this going. You either know the players or you can read the previous blog entries and determine who they are.

"About 4 this afternoon, Chris Chittum called me on my cell and told me that the planning department has decided to rezone Hannah Court as ROS (Recreational Open Space, a park). He said the department realized the importance of the project there and that ROS was the right thing to do. He said that in the future the department might want to do some special zoning there, but that they would go through the rezoning 'in a public way.'

"I said, let's really do a neat park there and make it a special place; it will help all of our efforts at making Roanoke a better place to live and thus increase its attractiveness to business ventures. I think he is into doing that. At least this is an opportunity to get that done and I hope they can do it with some commitment.

"Thank all of you for your help on this issues. I think a lot of folks had their say on this and [city officials] listened. An e-mail I sent to Susan Koch of the Greater Raleigh Court Civic League was forwarded around and ended up with members of city council, Rupert Cutler and others.

"Dan Smith's two blogs on the subject were very helpful and Chris mentioned that Dan and he had exchanged e-mails. Many folks helped. I learned a lot about how the city operates and that we are best when we are open and working together for known goals. Transparency is the word of the year, I think. As I said in Monday's [Preservation Foundation] meeting I am trying to get a Mountain View neighborhood group together and this is certainly wonderful news to get things going.

"This is great news for Hannah Court Park and for all of the city. I am going to the planning work session at noon Friday and will express my appreciation that they listened to neighborhood folks' input, as well as other civic minded citizens and re-thought their plans.

"Shortly after I talked with Chris Chittum, Donnie Underwood from the Parks and Rec Department returned an earlier call. He is the parks' front person on Hannah Court. I told him what I'd just learned and he said, 'Really? You must know some important people.' I think he was truly surprised. I know I was."

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