April 15, 2009 > Letter to the Editor: Mid-Town Fremont
Letter to the Editor: Mid-Town Fremont
The Mid-Town, Downtown, or CBD - Central Business District - has been planned, without success, many times. Currently, the greater Midtown Fremont functions as a very large Neighborhood-Commercial District anchored by five large food/drug markets, accented with some banks. Significant square footage is occupied by economically non-productive government offices. The one new and potentially beneficial planning element of the current "concept" is a future Parking District. (I encourage the City of Fremont to review the City of Pasadena approach to a Parking District).
A successful municipal commercial center is the beating heart of a community; its life fluid is traffic. The original General Plan (circa 1957) included a CBD Freeway. Without major arteries (freeways), a commercial center will not thrive.
Form follows Function. The only viable industries for the CBD are health care and government services. A staff/consultant visit to Rochester, MN should be encouraged. Despite Fremont's efforts and plans, the greater Mid-Town will inevitably develop like Rochester, Minnesota, home of the Mayo Clinic. Downtown Rochester is a collection of institutional health care/hospital facilities with high rise assisted living and elderly housing. Cultural Arts facilities and programs are excellent. Buildings are connected by second floor skywalks which cross most major streets. Washington Township Hospital is about to invest another $700 million in construction projects.
I believe there is the potential for a 250,000 square foot regional medical training facility. (Northern Virginia Medical Training Center near the Springfield, Virginia Metro Station is an excellent example).