Preserve and Revitalize Kesey Square
This petition had 231 supporters
Seemingly secretive and fast paced decision-making regarding the future of Broadway Plaza/Kesey Square has ignited a passionate community debate surrounding the potential loss of one of two remaining public gathering spaces available downtown and a significant part of Eugene's unique culture.
Broadway Plaza, better known as Kesey Square is, considered by many to be, the beating heart of our Eugene community. Created in the early 1970s, the plaza is a remnant of a downtown pedestrian mall and, at one time, had faced a fondly loved fountain in the middle of what is now the intersection of Broadway and Willamette.
For more than a decade, an iconic bronze statue placed in honor of local author and Merry Prankster, Ken Kesey, best known for One Flew Over a Cuckoo's Nest, has stood on the corner reading a story to rapt listeners. Firmly at the center of a resurging downtown community, Kesey Square, is next to many popular nightlife destinations and serves as a gathering and community space that has hosted many outdoor events such as concerts, dancing, art walks and summer film screenings. Unfortunately, some city officials are under the impression that no one uses the square except for vagrants and troublemakers and, despite the city's best efforts, consider Kesey Square to be a “failed space”. The city is currently considering three options for the plaza: its sale or lease for private redevelopment, a public improvement project or doing nothing.
On Nov. 30, 2015, the city of Eugene announced a call for RFEIs (requests for expression of interest) with a Jan. 15 submission deadline, a mere five weeks over the holiday season, for interested parties to submit proposals for the purchase/lease and redevelopment of the Broadway & Willamette parcel. Of the three proposals submitted to the city only one proposal speaks of preserving the square. In light of these recent happenings, Save Kesey Square supporters held a rally in the Square and marched to the Eugene City Council meeting on Jan 25, during which over 60 citizens made their thoughts and feelings regarding the sale of Kesey Square clear. City Council discussion regarding the proposals is expected sometime in February 2016.
We call on Mayor Kitty Piercy, the Eugene City Council and City Manger John Ruiz to:
- Respect our common public spaces, do NOT to sell Broadway Plaza/Kesey Square to a private developer
- Allow for thoughtful consideration and public input regarding the preservation and revitalization the square
- Rezone the lot from commercial to public space
Goals identified by Save Kesey Square advocates to revitalize the square include: a monthly events calendar, collaboration with UO architecture students (who have already drawn up plans for improving the space), and further public investment aimed at improvements to the make the plaza a vibrate cornerstone of our unique community.
At a recent Downtown Solutions Forum, participants spoke nearly unanimously to keep the Square public, improve it with seating, amenities and a steward or manager to look over the space.
Given downtown Eugene's recent revitalization and growing resurgence it is now, more important than ever, to preserve our public spaces. Communities need common areas where diverse citizens can come together and interact in meaningful ways.
Keep Kesey Square public. Save our common spaces.
Make yourself heard!
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let the mayor and city council know your thoughts on Eugene's public spaces and why Kesey Square is important to you.
- Lobby the city counselors. Call, make appointments, get in there if you can.
- Send letters to the Eugene Weekly, the Register Guard and other news outlets.
- Plan more events in the square.
Keep the conversation going. Connect with us on facebook and share your stories and selfies from Kesey Square. #SaveKeseySquare
Today: Gwendolyn is counting on you
Gwendolyn Iris needs your help with “Mayor Kitty Piercy, Eugene City Council, and City Manager John Ruiz: Preserve and Revitalize Kesey Square”. Join Gwendolyn and 230 supporters today.