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C200: Time

2011 March 18
by Meredith Hall

< The King County bridge project team thanked the community by awarding a few dozen of us who've been involved with the bridge project with a little piece of grating salvaged from the demolished spans. >

“They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

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The collapse of the building industry has been pretty bad for the design firms who purport to make cities great. But maybe things aren’t so bad for city-greatness after all — in addition to slowing down the baking of all those stale breadloaves, this crappy economy has put unemployment checks in our hands and given us the free time to work in our communities.

Through the great upswing – from 1998, all the way through two booms (!), the great people of South Park worked and hoped and pleaded for a new bridge, but what did it finally take to get one? An earthquake and, nearly ten years later, a county budget crisis mixed with a touch of stimulus money (hard won – thanks Patty!). The bids have already come in under budget and construction will start in May. The new bridge – and, I’m betting, a revitalized South Park business district – will be open in just two years.

In the wake of the interim bridge closure, we’ve had our share of downs – business is down, traffic is down, the prostitutes have moved down the street – but the community has also had its ups.

Meetings are up – we’ve been getting to know our neighbors by getting together to talk about how we’re going to improve South Park through hosting events and beautifying the business district. We’ve been meeting with philanthropic organizations that see our rallying for the bridge as a sign that South Park is a great place to invest in community building.   We’ve been working on creating a new park. We’ve even met with young web developers who wanted nothing more than to help us create a better online community for South Park.

Sure, a steady income is good for everyone. But extra time comes in pretty handy when it comes to building great cities.

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Meredith Hall finally landed a full time job as a landscape architect and now fantasizes about having free time.

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