General Growth is holding a series of private meetings with a wide range of community groups to discuss it’s vision for the future of Town Center in Columbia. I happen to think that this is a wise approach. It gives the company a chance to respond directly and appropriately to individual concerns.
I have attended one of these briefings. It was informative and there was healthy dialogue between the developer and the invitees. That is what is required to refine a vision and build it into a plan.
That is what GGP says it wants to do. They emphasized time and time again during the presentation that what they are discussing in these meetings is a vision, not a final plan. That, they insist, will come after absorbing the feedback from the various community stakeholders.
Some folks don’t like this though. In today’s Sun, June Arney reported on these meetings and the reactions of some of these folks. Alex Hekimian is challenging whether any village board members or Columbia Council members can legally attend these meetings since they are not open to the public and the press.
These are GGP’s meetings. They can dam well invite whoever they want. They are not presenting a final plan, they are looking for feedback. Have you ever noticed what happens when a meeting is open to everyone and the press, especially when the topic is a hot one like Town Center?
The big mouths and politicians dominate the dialogue as they vie for being quoted by the press. That’s why some of the politicians don’t like them. They can’t grandstand.
I hope my elected representatives attend one of these meetings. That's what they are supposed to do. Go. Listen. Learn. Form an opinion. Report back.
Then they can grandstand and pontificate all they want.