Living in Eugene for 61 years, I have the impression that I currently reside in a city that has grown larger in population but smaller in terms of how it cares, thinks, or participates. It's a city whose inhabitants seek culture elsewhere, with little pride in their place and a motto that might as well be "we just get by."The city leadership, which initially committed to not locating in the EWEB building, has since changed its mind and opted to settle for mediocrity. I am writing to show support for that decision, while also urging the city to take maximum advantage of the opportunity and maintain ownership of the site and building for the public. However, the current plan is to spend the minimum and move in, which is short-sighted and misses serious opportunities for the community and region. Instead, I propose that the city develop the entire former EWEB site into an active and open "Community Cultural Center Neighborhood," operating seven days a week, with the city hall as a major occupant. The upper floors would be reserved for city use, with the ground floor or a separate but connected building serving as the starting point and nucleus for the Eugene/Regional Cultural Center, which would be linked to future North Bank Park cultural connections. I have suggested this idea to the city, but there has been little interest from the Manager and
Council, who simply want to get this off their plate, move in, and spend as little money as possible. This approach is irresponsible and unacceptable, given the potential benefits of a Cultural Center Complex. I believe that if the community were given the opportunity, they would support a Cultural Center Complex long before a city hall, but we have yet to ask. This is an attempt to gauge the community's interest in providing something for itself and to see if we care about our city's future.