Meredith Overstreet Letter on City Hall

Dear Mr. Mayor and Members of Ashland City Council,

I am writing as I will not be able to be present at the next city council meeting.  I want to express my concern that the City is considering a multi-million dollar tear down and replacement of city hall with a new, larger structure.

The idea that we need a bigger footprint for city staff seems unjustified.  It is continuously unclear to me why we need more city staff growth in the small town of Ashland.  It also concerns me that this project is again a staff-driven effort to create something shiny and new without clearly thinking of the economic impact on the businesses’ in Ashland.  It is a concern that we may have a habit of catering to the city staff’s wants more than a focus on creating a business-friendly environment for our downtown. In addition, I see no strong economic development plan from the city or chamber to support new businesses or enticing existing business to relocate to Ashland.  I believe if we continue on this path, Ashland will be nothing more than a retired residential wasteland and with that, why would we need a brand new City Hall?  We continue to lose the many young creative entrepreneurs between the ages of 25-40, as they all move to Bend or elsewhere. Using Bend as an example, they are pro- businesses and it is clear that their city flourishes with economic growth, new families and strong schools, as we remain stagnate and unresponsive to anything more than what the city employee’s want (not need).

I agree we need to upgrade City Hall to safely house city employees.  But I support a reasonable and financially accessible approach to the project.  I hope that the City Council will re-evaluate retro fitting restoration approaches for City Hall vs. complete tear down.

I don’t think this project should be on the November Bond measure and the City should develop a better plan moving forward that will not impact the businesses in Ashland.

Thank you for your time and service,

Meredith Overstreet

Meredith Overstreet Letter on City Hall

Meredith Overstreet Letter on City Hall