I had to pop my head out my front door and take a quick look around to make sure I was still in the same city after reading the introductory pieces to Hamilton Next in Saturday's Spectator.
The negativity and obvious disconnection with their own city is very evident when reading these Spectator reports. Wade Hemsworth probably comes closest to something resembling reality when he states that our future success is already being developed in burgeoning neighbourhoods like James North, King East, Locke, the waterfront and others.
The rest, however, is mind-boggling.
Toss a new football stadium debate into the mix and it becomes painfully obvious that this paper has little understanding of what could help improve our city.
Every article about a new stadium made a point of waxing eloquently about how wonderful it would be to have a new stadium out in the middle of nowhere because "it would be easy to park". Downtown locations were constantly painted as less than desirable due to the almighty "parking" issue.
There was a glimmer of hope when Camden Yards in Baltimore was mentioned as a great model for an urban stadium. Just so happens I agree 100 percent with that comparison. Baltimore is wonderful and their stadium is wonderful.
One problem, though: Baltimore didn't turn itself around by being addicted to parking lots and wider streets.
Councillor Bob Bratina has had the best idea so far with his suggestion to locate our new stadium downtown at the Sir John A McDonald school site. The students deserve a better school than that mega-prison, and the location would be amazing in creating synergy with our downtown core and surrounding neighbourhoods like James North and Hess Village.
And hey, Spec guys, listen up: people could walk or use transit to get a stadium in this location.
While in Boston recently, we took a tour of Fenway Park, a brilliant stadium in a great neighbourhood. The tour guide made the comment that the only people who even attempt to drive to the stadium are people from "those other cities". In other words, cities like Hamilton and Detroit that value empty lots and 1950s thinking over vibrancy and proper urban development.
To add to Bratina's vision, I'd suggest a new hotel/office tower at the western edge of this site built in a similar style as the â€˜Flat Iron' buildings in New York and Toronto. Imagine coming along York and seeing the triangle office/hotel tower facing you at Queen St.
A second suggestion would be to look at Seattle as a great model to follow in building a new football stadium. Theirs is brand new and has become a huge hit with the public. It has the smallest footprint of any stadium in the NFL at the request of Paul Allen, the owner, for a park that was small, steep and loud.
It was also built at just the right angle to allow the wind and rain to drive sideways into the stadium to help create a great football atmposhere.
Hmmm, do they really expect me to believe that a multimillionare like Paul Allen requested details like that over parking, parking, parking? Yup. Go visit Seattle sometime. But not if you're from Hamilton, because you'll never find a place to park.
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