In the last few weeks, before and after the early July 4 pepper-balling incident on Lower Greenville, we've had many late-night, mostly curbside conversations with folks who manage, own and work at the establishments down under. These bars, clubs and restaurants will be affected by the proposed city ordinance to rezone Lower Greenville Avenue as part of a Planned Development District being prepped by council member Angela Hunt and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano.
We haven't talked with everybody down there yet. But so far, what we've heard is that even the folks who are down with "cleaning up" the area are concerned about the lack of information they've received from the city.
There appears to be a lack of communication, and a perceived lack of transparency, that Hunt addressed with Robert earlier this week (and tackled on her blog earlier this afternoon). After all, that's why Hunt and Medrano have called for a public meeting on July 29 to present their plans for the Lowest Greenville PD. Hunt and Medrano told Unfair Park they hope the meeting gives them a chance provide information on the PD, and gather feedback from neighbors and businesses.
And organized business associations too, presumably, now that the newly formed Lowest Lower Greenville Avenue Business Association (not to be confused with the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association, as if that were even possible).
Today, the LLGABA sent word to Hunt and Medrano that "many" of the businesses are "extremely concerned" about the proposed changes to the neighborhood. So concerned, in fact, they asked Hunt and Medrano to meet with area businesses who fall under the PD before the public meeting.
For the past couple of months, Neil Ludwig, the self-described "general manager / head janitor" of Service Bar, Sofrano's and Whisky Bar has worked to create the LLGABA, which would replace the now-defunct Historic Greenville Avenue Business Association.
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And, in recent weeks, Ludwig has been one of the guys we've chatted with while observing the weekend goings-on on the strip. Each weekend, he'll be out walking the sidewalks after midnight making his rounds.
In an e-mail he sent today to Hunt and Medrano, Ludwig writes that the new association will represent the businesses on the street south of Belmont Avenue not just in light of the PD plans, but also in "future events and activities coordinated with the neighborhoods and police."
Ludwig invited Hunt and Medrano to a meeting about the PD before the two host their public meeting on July 27, writing that he's already made arrangements to call the meeting of "any and all businesses that will fall within the new zoning area" (which would stretch from Belmont to Bryan along Greenville Avenue). He called for a meeting on one of two possible dates: July 20 or 21.
And, while Medrano's office tells us she'll be out of town on both dates, Hunt tells Unfair Park that she has agreed to meet with the businesses at a Lowest Greenville restaurant, calling the powwow "a good thing."