Forum attendance low
February 8, 2007
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More than 50 people said that Dorr Street development was important enough for them to attend a meeting concerning the issue when invited to it on Facebook.com; however, the meeting held last night had a turnout of less than 20 students.
“I’m kind of disappointed because it’s just the normal people [involved with Student Government] here,” said SG President Amy Steves, a senior majoring in philosophy and English, who organized the event.
However, Steves continued the meeting for the few members in the audience who weren’t well-rehearsed in the situation.
“I didn’t want the people who did show up to have gone out of their way for no reason,” Steves said.
The idea for the Dorr Street development is to help increase the area economically, and anything that gets built on Dorr Street is tentatively planned to fit in aesthetically with the university, according to Steves.
Graduate student housing atop those businesses placed on Dorr Street is another option for development, Steves added.
“If you have the right item there, it’s going to get people there,” said Sean Mitchell, a senior majoring in communication, adding that it also depends on what is put there and where exactly it’s situated.
Mitchell also said that people are paying attention to what students want in the area.
“People want to know what we want – [it’s] not just from a happiness perspective,” Mitchell said, adding that people are looking at this from an enrollment perspective and a citywide perspective.
However, there was another concern with the Dorr Street area.
“We need to make the street more accessible before Dorr Street can be developed,” said Terry Biel, a junior majoring in music and chairman of the Student Senate.
One of the suggested places for the Dorr Street development was the Dorr Street-Secor Road-Byrne Road area, but not everyone agreed with this placing.
Steves was concerned that, even though the area is relatively close, students still wouldn’t walk there.
Biel, who is also a resident adviser in MacKinnon Hall, said he wasn’t sure if residents of the hall would walk there.
Mitchell thought a bit differently about the matter.
“[It’s the] most likely [spot] to be developed,” he said. “[It’s] probably the easiest space to work with but not the best.”
An alternative idea the group came up with is to begin developing the Rocket Plaza area on Dorr Street.
However, Steves said that the Rocket Plaza owners haven’t decided to do anything with the area and are hard to reach.
Ken Nesbett, a senior majoring in secondary education, had a different perspective on the Dorr Street development.
“The first question that we need to ask is, ‘Why don’t businesses want to be here?'” said Ken Nesbett, a senior majoring in secondary education.
The only business that wants to be here it seems is Jimmy Johns, Nesbett said. Businesses such as Papa John’s Pizza left.
They are building things such as Chipotle and Rite Aid, “but that’s on Central, and that’s a little too far away,” he added.
When it came to the decision as to what should go on Dorr Street, though, audience members were split.
Ideas mentioned were a thrift store, coffee shop with wireless Internet, a movie theater, a bowling alley, a bar, miniature golf and a video rental place.
Nevertheless, the area around Dorr Street must also be considered, said one audience member.
“Right behind, there is neighborhood housing,” said Emily Duerringer, a sophomore majoring in developmental psychology.
“[We] need to pay attention to what students want, too,” she said.
If students want five more bars in the area, then there should be a push to put five bars in the area, Steves said.
“The worst thing that could happen is to put in all of these businesses and then have them all go out of business within three months,” Steves said.
Steves will take all of the ideas she gathered at the meeting and convey them to administrators to help with the Dorr Street development, she said.