At a special meeting on July 9, the Queen Mary Land Development Task Force shared its progress with the public, including ideas for outdoor entertainment, a promenade and other amenities. More than 50 people attended the event.
Task force chair Michael Bohn said the meeting was a success and that there was great diversity in those who attended. From residents and to members of the business community, to union representatives worried about their workers, Bohn said the group was very respectful when voicing its concerns and comments.
“I do a lot of outreach in my profession, and I’ve probably done a couple hundred of these, and I have to say this was one of the best,” Bohn, a senior principal of Studio One Eleven, said. “The audience provided a lot of great and thoughtful ideas . . . very positive, and presented concerns and questions.”
Some of the concerns regarded sustainability, the importance of not overpowering the Queen Mary and why the task force did not focus on ship improvements, which, as Bohn pointed out, was not the reason the task force was formed.
“I think what we got out of it was elaborating a little more on the incorporation of art, sustainability, fitness and events,” Bohn said. “A lot of us are beginning to ask what is going to be unique about this area and I think the ability to have multiple and many events over there could be great.”
Bohn also noted that many people were intrigued by the idea of the project engaging with the water. He said the task force is open to the idea of a floating hotel or restaurants, or even a pool that floats in the bay.
Right now the sidewalks in the area are five-feet wide with light poles and trash cans that make it difficult to walk side by side with one another, Bohn said. The new walkways will be wider and continue over the rock formation that is the breakwater for the Queen Mary on the water side, allowing guests to view the ship from a new perspective.
“I’m most excited about creating a grand promenade along the waters edge that is accessible to all people,” Bohn said. “If you choose to walk over or bike over, you won’t have to pay for parking and you can enjoy it for free.”
Bohn envisions the promenade going right up to the waters edge and possibly even having large steps that lead down to water level.
The next step for the task force is to update the guiding principals and incorporate public comments and concerns from the meeting. After amendments are made, the task force will present its draft to the mayor’s office and to the city council.
The next task force meeting is Wednesday, July 27, at 5:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 241 Cedar Ave.