by Arnaud and Naja Girard

The City Commission’s agenda for last Tuesday’s meeting contained several controversial items, but Michael Halpern’s proposal to turn the end of Duval Street into a pocket park literally packed the room.

About half of residents who spoke were enthusiastically in favor, the others called into question the amount of commercial use being proposed for what Halpern has characterized as “sidewalk” cafes.

In the end the Commission approved the project with five voting in favor, two opposed [Sam Kaufman and Jimmy Weekley]. After hearing from the public and much debate the Commission and Halpern agreed to put several conditions on the project that will now be drafted into a lease agreement that will also come before the Commission for approval.

A couple of issues remained unresolved such as how many benches will be available for members of the public who wish to enjoy the area without spending money at the outdoor cafes and specifics about an agreed to “environmental component.”

The drawing below depicts the specific conditions the Commission agreed to on Tuesday night and lists those that will need further negotiations.  [Click on the image to enlarge.]

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