I was at a meeting of downtown office workers last week, hosted by the NDDC, when the discussion veered towards downtown amenities. NEC head honcho Megan Tsui brought up the issue of the lack of tables on Bridge Square that would be conducive for both meetings as well as eating. She said someone from the City once told her that they couldn’t put picnic tables on Bridge Square because pranksters would toss them in the Cannon River.
This little tidbit made its way back to Northfield City Hall and a few days later, NDDC ED Ross Currier told me that two picnic tables magically appeared on Bridge Square, evidently via
divine intervention an executive order from City Engineer/Public Works Director Joe Stapf.
Cool. And it makes me hopeful we’ll soon see even better table/bench amenities there that are conducive to meetings, games, socializing, and eating.
(With apologies to the author of the Book of Genesis for my blog post title.)
Yup, for years we had heard the same reasoning.
The NDDC would put the picnic tables out for the Taste of Northfield and when we’d come back the next day to pick them up, all of them would be occupied. It seemed crazy to ask folks to move so we could return the tables to storage behind the City Shop, just to avoid anticipated vandalism.
It was pretty clearly the unanimous opinion of the downtown office users last Wednesday that we should have picnic tables in Bridge Square. So, I figured it was time to ask once again.
When I related the reasoning of previous leadership at the Streetscape Task Force meeting the very next morning, Joe Stapf said “What?”. Then he said he’d have a couple of tables moved out there that afternoon as an “experiment”.
Like I said in a post not too long ago, it’s more than a fresh breeze down at City Hall, it’s been like a 180 degree turn over the past 18 months.
This is a happy event! It must be 15 years ago that the NDDC’s Action Squad was told.. “No.. no tables allowed in B’Square”.
There is a deeper issue here: it makes all the difference in the world to have a City Engineer/Public Works director who is supportive of the citizens, rather than being constantly adversarial…
And there’s also an underlying policy issue: the City Council needs to recognize that they are the employers of the Staff, and they can request that the Staff have the sort of positive attitude that this Staff/Stapf does.
Another Thank You to Joe Stapf … He’s really piling up the accolades, and deservedly so!
I sat here for 15 seconds looking for a like button and wishing I was sitting at one of those tables right now.
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