Update on the K-Mart Issue

Kmart site, winter

Hey there neighbors,

Many of you may have seen the Post Bulletin article that came out earlier this week about the Kmart park and ride proposal. We want to take a moment to tell you a little more about what’s going on and why.

As you may know, in January the City Council was going to vote on whether or not to approve the developer’s (Camegaran’s) proposed use of the parking lot (which they bought several months ago) as a park and ride to be used primarily by Mayo Saint Marys 12-hour shift employees. Many of you showed up to voice concerns at the meeting. Many City Council members also voiced some concerns, including some issues with the wording of the permit and lease and they voted to table their vote so that changes could be made.

It’s far from certain how the City Council will vote when the issue comes up again on Feb. 19. They may vote to approve this use, or they may not.

No matter how they vote,  the Slatterly Park and Sunnyside neighborhood associations strongly feel that it’s important to find a way to make the best of the situation. Regardless of how the Council votes this time around, a developer has purchased the site and they’re planning to do something with it in the coming years. And they can do that with us, or without us. We’d rather they do it with us.

Up until now, the City, Mayo Clinic, DMC and the developer haven’t been working with the neighborhoods. So how do we fix that? We reach out and start talking and getting to know one another.

At the City Council meeting on January 6, the City, Mayo Clinic, DMC and the developer openly voiced a commitment to engaging with neighborhood stakeholders in the development of the Kmart site. The Slatterly Park and Sunnyside neighborhood associations decided to take them up on it.

Since then, representatives from the two neighborhood associations began meeting with the developer Pat Regan and his team, city staff, DMC and Mayo representatives.  We have had some frank, honest and productive discussions about the Kmart situation and our neighborhoods’ concerns about safety, traffic, environmental impact, and working towards a shared vision of the Kmart site beyond a parking lot.

  • Through these discussions, many of these concerns have been addressed. We have persuaded the developer and city to make significant changes to the lease agreement that make the proposed parking lot safer and less impactful to our neighborhoods.
  • Most importantly, we have clearly established that all parties see this proposed parking lot as an interim use and are committed to working toward a better use in the future. And all parties have openly voiced a commitment to engaging our neighborhoods in development discussions that impact us.

We didn’t have any of that before. This is tremendous progress.

Come February 19, if the Council rejects the proposed park and ride, the neighborhoods will still be in a position to influence development decisions at the Kmart site. And if the Council approves the proposal, we’ll have a seat at the table, along with the developer, adjacent business owners, the City, the DMC and Mayo, in determining what the future of this site should be.

And no matter what, we’ve set the stage for the future. More development is coming to our area in the coming years, with the sale of the AMPI site and the Seneca site. We want to set a precedent for the City and future developers to engage local neighborhoods to find common ground as they consider development opportunities in our City. If they do, it will work out better for everyone.

Sincerely,

Your Slatterly Park Neighborhood Association Board

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