A Trader Joe's grocery store, a six-story condominium and an entertainment pavilion at are just a few of the ideas that were floated at a workshop Tuesday evening, held by the design and planning firm tasked with reinventing the Parkview Gardens neighborhood in University City.
About 50 residents turned out for the public workshop at the . H3 Studio wants to have a fundamental plan done by the end of the year.
The vision outlined for Metcalfe Park includes:
- Rehabbing the park into a major facility and venue for performing arts
- Adding a multipurpose pavilion that can serve as a stage
- Allowing for people to rent the pavilion for special events
- Adding a "Great Lawn" for community gatherings and events
- Removing the residential building at southeast corner of the park
- Making an adventure playground
- Making an area similar to downtown City Garden that could be developed into a small restaurant
- Adding a shaded seating area
- Providing shaded event parking
- Creating a water-spray garden
- Creating a circuit path around the park for fitness and walking
Representatives from H3 Studio said that a lot of residents use Ackert Park, mainly because of the playground. However, they said the park also has some major issues. For example, it is not ADA accessable and has a number of blind spots, which residents say makes them feel unsafe.
The vision outlined for Ackert Park includes:
- Opening up the park as a main goal
- Removing ADA barriers
- Removing blind spots
- Adding more intimate seating areas
- H3 Studio envisions holding neighborhood movie night at the site
- Creating a much nicer lawn space where the concrete ponies currently stand
- Creating a better toddler playground area
After the presentation by H3 Studio, the audience was broken up into groups to discuss three design ideas proposed by H3 Studio. Residents had spirited exchanges with each other as they debated the pros and cons of the ideas.
Several people suggested putting a Trader Joe's where the current is, but instead of the store facing Vernon Avenue, as the current facility does, residents said they want it to face Olive Boulevard. One group also suggested an ALDI.
One H3 Studio suggestion was to locate a grocery store on the corner of Skinker and Delmar boulevards. While many residents liked the idea of a grocery store they scoffed at the location, saying parking would be impossible and that traffic in that area easily snarls.
One woman was adamant that the community gardens in the Parkview neighborhood be protected.
In all three of their design ideas, H3 Studio proposed building a six-story building of condominiums in the parking area behind Cicero's in the Loop. People wanted to know if the parking spaces that the construction would eliminate would be made up somewhere else. There was also talk of adding a parking garage tall enough to accommodate parking in The Loop.
One person wanted to know what economic impact adding student housing in the area would have on the city. Would the student housing be on or off the tax rolls?
H3 Studio plans on holding at least two more public meetings.