Petition to Taron M. Cunningham
Bring a World-Class Skate Park to Downtown Youngstown.
If you agree with this petition, please sign it, then SHARE it with your Mahoning Valley neighbors and beyond! Our vision for this skate park is near the future Amphitheater next to the Covelli Center. The city has existing plans for a park and green space in this area and a skate park would be a perfect addition to revitalize this area. This impressive park will be the first thing you see when crossing the Market Street Bridge into downtown Youngstown. Our goal is to bring a safe, durable skate park that will enhance our community in many ways. High quality concrete skate parks require little to no maintenance and are preferred and enjoyed by skateboarders, bmx cyclists, freestyle scooter riders, inline skaters and roller skaters. Like the Covelli Centre, a public skate park is an unique attraction that will bring people of all ages to downtown Youngstown in a family friendly atmosphere. A skate park in our city would provide free outdoor recreation for youth and adults alike. It will help make downtown Youngstown a destination not only for our residents, but for people from nearby cities such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Akron and Canton. This skate-able art will provide decades of entertainment and will help revitalize and enhance the aesthetics of our city. Benefits of a public skate park: Builds community. Provides a gathering place for people of all ages, encouraging residents to get to know one another and build friendships. Provides a safer skating or riding environment. Less than 5% of all skateboarding injuries occur in skateparks. Our public streets, sidewalks, stairs, and curbs are not safe places to skate. A majority of fatal skateboarding accidents that occur in the street involve a motor vehicle. Boosts local business. When residents are not interested in their neighborhood, they are less likely to "hang out" and use its services. Additionally, visitors from other cities will come to use the skatepark, buying lunch and "gassing up" before returning home. Improves health and well-being. Lack of physical activity is a problem in our country. A free sport is an excellent way to encourage physical fitness, improve coordination, build new skills, and get people away from tv and videos games, giving them access to fresh air and exercise!Lowers crime. Provides an additional productive activity, a place, a sense of belonging, and an identity. Boredom in our youth is not helpful: ask any parent, community group, or public authority! Do you know of a space or activity that exists downtown for young adults under the age of 21? Enhances, improves, and revitalizes our city. Skate parks are downright cool! It will make our city look modern - Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Akron and Canton all have skate parks! Add Youngstown to this list and give residents a sense of PRIDE! Downtown is a centralized location, and unlike other neighborhood parks in the different City Wards, ALL residents will be drawn downtown to utilize the skate park, giving a sense of ownership to everyone. The growing popularity of skateboarding, eight million strong. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 Statistical Abstract, skateboarding had approximately 8,418,000 participants in 2009. Among the 40 sports and fitness activities that the census covered, skateboarding ranked 26th, ahead of such sports as hockey, cross-country skiing and mountain biking. It did rank first among the so-called action or extreme sports, with millions more participants than snowboarding, water skiing and inline skating.
Petition to Lincoln Restler, Community Board 1
Say "NO" to Rezoning River St. for 65 story towers on the Williamsburg Waterfront.
Say “NO” to developers in their attempt to rezone the sites at N.3rd & River St. (by Kent Ave.) to add thousands of new residents to a neighborhood amidst an infrastructure and transportation crisis. Why do a couple of additional skyscrapers matter? 1. Irresponsible Development: The proposed plan would add 1050 apartments (>2K residents) to a one-way street, bordered by water located in a neighborhood with a troubled subway line in an area that is already suffering from more condo construction than any other NYC neighborhood for the last decade. Williamsburg is not a transit hub suited for high density; it is irresponsible to build more at this location. 2. Parking, Garbage, Schools, Infrastructure: We are barely more than half-way through the development in the pipeline and our community is already burdened. Local traffic can be unbearable. Street garbage and overflowing cans are ubiquitous, and our schools are full and wait lists are now common. A park that was promised as part of the 2005 rezoning, over 14 years ago now, is still not even close to fruition. It is irresponsible for the city to consider adding more density to this overburdened community. 2. No more tax breaks for wealthy developers: The development proposal includes a 35-year tax break to a rich developer. Based on the average unabated tax rate next door at 184 Kent of ~$750/month for 1050 units, this is a savings of $9,450,000/year x 35 = $330,750,000. Our city is in major tax deficit, regardless of whether you agree about the towers; it should be obvious that we should not give huge tax breaks to private developers. 4. Displacement: While a few lottery winners receive “affordable housing” (87,000 applicants for 104 apartments at 325 Kent Ave), data shows the explosion of luxury rentals and $4,000+ 1 bedroom apartments raises the “market rate” of all housing in the neighborhood. How is it possible that ~80K housing units were built in Brooklyn in the past decade and yet it’s far less affordable than it was before? When are we going to realize, affordable housing when married to luxury housing raises neighborhood rents. 5. Their proposed park is deeply flawed and misleading: Although they promise a new waterfront park, the 2.9 above ground acres fails to meet the City recommended 2.5 acres of open space per 1,000 people given their towers will add well over 2,000 new residents. With their proposal we would have less open space per capita with this development than without it. 6. ULURP during COVID: Zoom meetings with selected groups of invited stakeholders is not “community engagement,” it’s impossible to have a public process when we can’t meet in person. The Gowanus rezoning was halted for this reason. 7. The current zoning is better for the neighborhood: One look at the Williamsburg Waterfront and I’m sure you’re thinking…“oh my gosh, what this waterfront really needs is more luxury residential towers!” The current zoning could be a grocery story, Industry City, New Lab, Brooklyn Navy Yard, a low-density site that provides balance and jobs. Why in the world would we want to change it 8. Too much is never enough: The developer has 2300 units two blocks away at Domino, which is less than half built. The waterfront has ~8500 units in the pipeline. It doesn’t make sense to approve more units until we see the impact of the current development in our post-covid world. If we approve this, which site comes next? 8. The 2005 rezoning allowed more density than the community wanted: The 197-a plans (link below) shows what the community asked for in the 2005 rezoning which is MUCH less density than we received. “Dismay with the City approved rezoning was evident in the public protests of April 2005. Critics called the approved 150 ft. to 300 ft. waterfront developments a “wall” and claimed it would disrupt the neighborhoods’ existing character.” Let’s not further disrupt and add to the “wall.” 9. Williamsburg is experiencing the second-largest development growth in NYC: As per the New York Times, Williamsburg is 2nd to LIC in growth, with1,904 new units in the pipeline for 2019. The bulk of the new inventory is on the waterfront, over 5,800 units have been added since 2008, with over 2,500 planned, to exceed 8,500 units. All of this development was approved even though the L-train was effectively broken. Can we trust that anyone is watching to make sure that growth is sustainable and reasonable? No, and this is why we need to voice our opinion. 10. Ferries are small: Each boat carries 150-300 people. Compared to one L-train that carries 1500-2000 people. As it stands, the 8500 new residents won’t be able to fit on the boats, so what will we do with 1000+ more? What if we have another Superstorm Sandy? This is the community’s decision: Councilman Levin has stated that “he will side with the residents on this one,” so the ball is in our court to let him know that we care about quality of life in our neighborhood and will not allow a site that wasn’t intended for density to further burden our community. Many people seem to believe this is a losing battle. What’s another tower? If you review the 197-a plans, you might relate to this losing sentiment. However, people continually told us the same thing about Bushwick Inlet Park. We sat with Councilman Levin in numerous meetings, and we believe if we make our opinion known, the zoning does not have to change. We’re not asking for something we don’t have, we’re asking to keep the site as it’s meant to be. We lose when we don’t act. Who cares about allowing another developer getting their way at the expense of the community, we do! Sincerely, Sustainable Williamsburg - Visit us at: SustainableWilliamsburg.com Link to GWAPP article about 2005 re-zoning: http://gwapp.org/about/archive/historical-narrative-2005-north-brooklyn-waterfront-rezoning/ Map of new developments in the pipeline: https://ny.curbed.com/maps/williamsburg-brooklyn-new-york-development Crains article about the site: https://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20180430/REAL_ESTATE/180439991/williamsburg-con-ed-sites-on-brooklyn-waterfront-hit-the-market Sister-site developed as per right: 200 Kent Ave, sold for 33M: https://therealdeal.com/2017/12/05/livwrk-takes-stake-in-cornell-realtys-200-kent/
Let's Rebuild the Rockland Skatepark
We are a grassroots community advocating for the re-build of the Rockland, Maine Skatepark. We believe a public place for people to Skateboard, BMX, Scooter and Rollerblade, will create genuine positive change for our town. Join our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rocklandmaineskatepark and Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rockland_Sk8 For further research into the skatepark movement check out: https://skatepark.org/public-skateparks/ Currently we are looking for crypto donations in #Ethereum to help fund phase 1 of our project- "concept drawings and blue prints" - wallet address: 0xEee3ec3D210Ac0C804c950bBD4bb1Ae4de6738F5Public zoom meetings begin in April. Dates TBD.
Petition to Mike Signer (Mayor), Wes Bellamy
Keep the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park
A 15 year old student says she feels uncomfortable going to Lee Park because of the statue of General Robert Edward Lee and is requesting city council to take it down and rename the park essentially stating that Lee represents slavery, segregation, and white supremacy. The statue is a memorial to a great American who fought in the Mexican-American War, and was a great military engineer before the Civil War as a member of the U.S. Army and tried to unify the country after the Civil War. Lee was a forward thinker, he tried to heal our country, to bring it back together. A man who inspired men 150+ years ago and still inspires men and women today when they learn the true and honest facts about the Virginia Gentleman. The statue does not represent slavery or white supremacy. Lee himself did not stand for those institutions and for the Charlottesville City Council to condemn this man and the statue in the same breath because of erroneous views is wrong. Lee freed slaves he inherited and did not wish to fight but out of loyalty to his state as was the norm in 1860, he resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and accepted commission in the C.S.A. Army to defend his state, not slave owners. By tearing this statue down the City council is dividing our nation once again and erasing all the work Lee did 150 years ago to reunite our country after the Civil War. Keeping the statue is not romanticizing the war, it's paying respect, honoring and remembering the sacrifice the sons of Virginia gave to her. Save the statue, let Lee stand in Lee Park!!
Petition to Suzanne Blundi, Daniel Greiner, James McCartney, Dr. Frederic Weiss, John Lewis
Save Edgewood Village History
The village of Edgewood in Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County, PA is listed on the National Register. Despite that designation a number of historic homes within the village have been demolished over the years. Two more are currently endangered. Built in 1796, "The Tailor House" was home to one of Bucks County's earliest free black residents, a former slave and successful entrepreneur named Ishmael. The enduring presence of this home, 225 years since its construction, provides tangible evidence of the foundations of Black History, not only in Bucks County, but in America. "Carriage Crest" was built in the 1800's. The century-old clapboard home is one of few remaining in historic Edgewood Village that were associated with Heacock Greenhouses. It was home to Danny Quill, one of Bucks County's most renowned and decorated World War II veterans, a tireless veteran's advocate and community benefactor who was recognized by President Barack Obama for his service to our country. Carriage Crest's proximity within walking distance of Veterans Square and the historic Woodside Chapel make it ideal for a use that supports the remembrance of those who served in our military. We hold Lower Makefield Township elected officials and the property owner mutually responsible for the ongoing degradation of these important homes. Once our meaningful historic sites are gone they can never be recovered. The community expects appropriate preservation and use for these historic homes.
Petition to Bishop Dennis Sullivan
Request Diocesan Bishop Sullivan to delay closing St. Michaels Church in Atlantic City, NJ. All public Sunday Masses will now end on September 27, 2015.
St. Michaels Church and Parish is 112 years old and a Historic Landmark and Cultural Center for Italian-Americans and Atlantic City. St. Michaels Church contains beautiful Italian Renaissance sculptures, frescos, paintings and sacred objects that are irreplaceable. $8 Million was spent in 2000-2001 to completely restore St. Michaels Church and the adjacent Dante Hall. Closing St. Michaels Parish which occupies almost a whole city block will eliminate the heart, soul, and character of the Ducktown District of Atlantic City and allow corporate developers of outlet type stores to commercialize the community and “take over” the historic area. Closing St. Mikes will further deteriorate a community in a City that needs the Churches’ spiritual and moral leadership more than ever. St. Michaels is an icon and model of the Mission of the Catholic Church to preserve community, traditional values, and the saving message of Jesus. St. Michaels Parish has hundreds of admirers who are not aware of the Churches closing many of whom are graduates. They deserve the right and the opportunity to Save St. Mikes for the future.
Reduce Euclidean Zoning in Maryland: Prioritize People, Not Cars!
If you do not know already, Euclidean zoning is the separation of residential zones from commercial zones by several miles. In effect, this makes cities/towns require cars and are always unsafe or unfriendly for pedestrians. WHY are we building cities for cars and not the people who live in them?There is zero good argument for why we should make sure every U.S. citizen goes into tens of thousands of dollars of debt early on in life just to participate in society. Disadvantages of car-centric zoning: Gaining of Debt early in life just to get around High-cost housing Higher taxes, roads are hard to maintain on large scale A feeling of entrapment in your neighborhoods that are extremely separated Less space for housing Increased homelessness High cost for cities and states that need to maintain roads Decreased air Quality Increase in noise pollution, contributes to stress Increased crime Increased pollution into the Chesapeake Separation of schools and pedestrians leading to unsafe roads surrounding schools Expensive gas Decreased happiness Urban Sprawl TRAFFIC States loses money subsidizing roads Promotion of predatory Oil industry Less overall small business Black and low-income communities are HEAVILY affected. UNSAFE STROADS Advantages of mixed-use/non-Euclidean zoning with promotion of pedestrian and cycling traffic: Promotes small business More affordable housing States make more money Less noise pollution Improves overall happiness Higher air quality Kids gain more independence by walking or biking to school Less water pollution Less need to go into debt to buy a car Decreased crime Potential for lower taxes Increased state revenue allowing for large community projects Less traffic, which actually IMPROVES driving Decreased Homelessness and Food-Insecurity Higher population density but at the same time quieter streets Reduced Traffic Less noise pollution and thus less stress Prettier Cities Increased access to essential services such as hospitals Fantastic public transport by streetcars, trains, and busses. Common arguments: “I don’t want to live next to large parking lots”Parking lots wont really be necessary when services are so easy to access by foot or cycling. Plus, we can build underground parking and better public transport. “Business can play loud music and have big neon lights, that will keep everyone awake at night”This is actually an extremely easy thing to include in our zoning code and laws! “I like cars”I think cars have their uses and are a fantastic bit of modern engineering. I just don’t believe that we should force everyone to buy one just to participate in living. “I like my single-family house”I am not advocating for a ban on the idea of Single-family detached housing. I think they can be great, but why should that be the only thing we build. Also, why should those neighborhoods be separated from necessary and essential services like grocery stores and school. “Wont this be expensive!?!”The current suburbia is much, much more expensive to build and maintain than communities of non-Euclidean style zoning. We can build/zone new areas in a much better way that will overall reduce cost. “Wont this take a long time?”Yes, it is expected, but wouldn’t you want your children and grandchildren to live in a much better place. “Will they tear apart our existing neighborhoods?!”The hope is that we play this smart, and we create new, non-Euclidean zoned towns and cities. After a long enough period, we can move on to fixing existing, outdated infrastructure. I do not advocate for the destruction of homes. Final notes: Building pedestrian and Cycling infrastructure is crucial in the further development of this state and nation. If we don’t act fast, we will be stuck in a further worsened suburbia. Reducing the sizes of roads, increasing the amount of protected bike lanes and bike parking, increasing protected sidewalks, reducing speed limits, increasing greenery in cities, improvement to public transit, and overall improved traffic laws which speed things up for both drivers and pedestrians are all actions we can take with just the click of a pen. Thank you for reading, I greatly appreciate you making it this far. Resources: Not just bikes explains massive pitfalls of North American city design while comparing it to places like Amsterdam. Stroad definition Problems with current trains How suburbia is subsidized How we do speed limits wrong How to build a cycling city (quickly) Origins of R1 and how bad the suburbs are Zoning in MD (Map) (note, "medium residential" is still R1)
Petition to Anchorage Assembly
Convert the BP Exploration Building into Housing to Relieve the Anchorage Housing Shortage
When it comes to housing in Anchorage, there is a surplus of demand, but a deficit of supply. "Popp said there were just under 400 housing units listed for sale in Anchorage at the end of October. But those which are listed are being purchased at a fast rate... Additionally, Popp says that apartments are experiencing a low vacancy rate on top of escalating rent prices. He said some of the larger landlords are seeing around a 2% vacancy rate." (Fernandez, 2021) With such low vacancy rates, paired with limited units being available, the idea of converting the mostly vacant building into a hotel or office space seems inexpedient. Alaska's tourism may be increasing, but how can the demand for staff be satisfied when there is a lack of workers? Where do they expect these workers to stay if there's no housing available? As stated by Midtown Anchorage Assembly member Meg Zaletel, the apartments would help with the current housing crisis; however, the cost of the units could possibly be on the higher side. (DeMarban, 2022) With the asset of offering possibly the best views in the city, it may draw in tenants from more affordable properties who are willing to take on a more expensive lease for said views. As a result, this would increase the low vacancy rates to something more reasonable. Additionally, there is potential to convert the building into micro-apartments or small studios. This would give single individuals or couples a low-maintenance place to live while paying lower rent and fees. Micro-apartments are becoming a popular choice for young professionals (2022). While not the same size as major cities like Los Angeles and New York City, Anchorage has one of the highest costs of living in the country. Surely, these affordable and efficient living spaces would help draw in a younger generation of workers. --- Sources: Fernandez, Georgina. (Nov. 22, 2021). Advocates say Anchorage’s housing shortage contributes to the number of people experiencing homelessness. Alaska's News Source. URL. DeMarban, Alex. (April 20, 2022). Once a symbol of ‘growth and prosperity,’ the mostly empty former BP building in Anchorage remains in limbo. Anchorage Daily News. URL. Bungalow Team. (February 1, 2022). Micro-apartments: Just how tiny are they? Bungalow. URL.