The Old West Main or West End District Pedestrian Bridge has been a popular topic lately. If you've been watching you know at the last two meetings I've given a vote of support for this pedestrian bridge.
Here's what you won't know that's behind that vote...
I've been listening to residents, business owners, and others with an interest in the pedestrian bridge. I've been reading emails and comments. And I've been thinking. Being a City Council Member for me, as I've said before is the magical act of weighing out many different objectives all at the same time.
I'm weighing out resident and commercial property taxes, infrastructure, areas of need in Red Wing, Xcel's contribution to our tax base and that instability, the Old West Main District, our economy, our small businesses, our locals and our tourist base, the Upper Harbor, The West End District, Downtown, outdoor recreation, transportation, walk-ability/bike-ability, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, arts.
I know Red Wing residents want a thriving economy. In any pool there is a point of saturation, where you can't get any more from your residents. We need tourists too. And we have a tourist economy.
We want to grow our economy, specifically an economy that fits us. The Pedestrian Bridge has the potential to move us forward in that direction. That and the much needed improvements to Old West Main are welcome in this community--these improvements help us all.
On one hand I say we can't afford not to complete this project if we can get it for 30% or even 50% of the cost, and on the other hand I also know, that nothing is a deal if you don't need it. In the mean time, City Staff is working on more funding sources.
We can't continue to seek funding, to consider the bridge if we don't have a plan for it. I support pursuing a plan and funding for this bridge. It's baby steps, and I'm keeping my eyes open. I don't want to get to a place where we say, "Well we've come this far, we can't turn back now." I'm making a commitment to continue to look, listen, and learn about balancing all of these complex needs of our city.