Ahead of a calendared Sept. 6 city council meeting kicking off discussion of a “facelift” for Orinda’s BART-bisected downtown, dozens of Orindans have been firing up their iPads or typewriters to let city officials know what they want – and the letters suggest it isn’t what they have now.
If there is a common thread to the correspondence it is that Orindans want a new look and feel for their city, possibly guided by discussions with the non-profit Urban Land Institute, an organization whose stated mission is to “provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.”
They want an offering of new restaurants and other venues, not all concentrated as some mentioned in the city’s Theater Square, and they gently – sort of gently – chided their leaders by saying they were spending time and money in neighboring Lafayette and other cities with more to offer.
Dozens of letters have been received so far, with the majority urging a reexamination of priorities regarding the future look and feel of the city and pushing for guidance and a possible relationship with the ULI – though at least one resident questioned the the group’s motives and trending toward infill development.
From the correspondence received thus far it is plain that a sizable contingent of Orindans are not happy with the way their city looks and feels and they’re pushing for an approach to downtown development that makes the area attractive to businesses and residents who depend on them. More boutique businesses, a Rockridge-style “Food Hall,” gym, and a more diverse selection of restaurants were mentioned, along with revitalization of San Pablo Creek – and more than a few whimsical requests for creekside dining options.
We’ll see what else Orindans want – or don’t want – on Sept. 6. At the very least it promises to be a well attended city council meeting on that night.