Maker Space???

The Fayetteville City Council is apparently looking into spending more than 4 million dollars for a “maker space” at the re-designed intersection of Bragg Blvd. and Murchison Road. Here’s the study that includes some design concepts.

From what I can tell, a “maker space” is exactly what it sounds like: a public space where people can go make things.

My office is a block from this intersection, so I spend a lot of time in the area and know the “neighborhood.” From my experience, there’s one glaring problem with the concept: homelessness. It’s the big elephant in the room.

I won’t take my kids to Linear Park because it’s not safe. I’d be scared if my wife walked it alone. We spend a ton of money every year to keep Linear Park looking nice, cleaning it up after it routinely floods, and few people use it. My fear is that this space will only exacerbate these problems.

My Solution: Turn this land (and the open field across the street) back to what it was before we ruined it: a lowland forest. Tear up the remaining concrete. Plant native plants and trees so it’s low maintenance. Save us some money and make the area look decent in the process. You can put walking paths through it if you want, but you’re going to spend money maintaining something no one uses.

If you’re going to spend 4 million and do the maker space thing, at least give people a place to park, for free.

4 responses

  1. Matt, I just read your comments with interest. I’m not ready to comment on the Maker Space yet without doing more research. But I do want to speak to your comments on Linear Park. My husband and I live downtown and walk around here all the time. We often walk on Linear Park and have friends who do too. There are spots along Linear Park where the homeless hang out. Just as there are places all around urban areas where the homeless present a problem. But I have never felt unsafe at any time since I have been living downtown. I never feel unsafe while walking Linear Park. Certainly we use common sense and walk in pairs or small groups, but you should do that anywhere. As to the homeless, yes they are a problem for so many reasons. The biggest problems are the panhandlers and many of them are not homeless. They tend to congregate around clusters of people or where they are parking and will approach people asking for money. That is very annoying and I don’t like it downtown where I live and dine. We have laws against panhandling and the problem there is it needs to be enforced.
    I will be interested in studying more on the concept of the Maker Space and what it has to offer. I do support anything that cleans up and utilizes blighted spaces and makes them more attractive for our community. I’m glad you shared this and brought people’s attention to a proposal for our city so we can study it and come to a consensus. But I do take exception to the comments about no one using Linear Park because it’s not safe.

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  2. The plans look like something an assistant city manager would highlight in their application to become a city manager. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, but if we are going to spend $4,000,000 to improve downtown and the city in general, I don’t see this being the ticket.

    Specifically the “maker space” is all over the place. It’s a food truck court. It’s an extension of our world class skate park. It’s a space for a farmers market. It’s a small business incubator. It’s mural art wall space. Those are all great things. In fact we have them all already in place on the Murchison Road Corridor that this space connects to.

    Didn’t the City Council move to paid on street parking because we were “losing” $200,000 per year by providing residents and visitors with “free” parking? I’d rather the city spend $4,000,000 funding the next 20 years of on street parking in downtown.

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