Remember the shock of the sudden leap of the great white shark in the 1975 thriller “Jaws” as it attacked the unsuspecting ocean swimmers? Scary!
Those were my feelings exactly when I saw The Virginia Gazette article (June 29) regarding the renewed Fall 2018 proposal for Goodwin Plaza. Isn’t Colonial Williamsburg VP for Real Estate Jeff Duncan’s proposal an attack on the integrity of the Foundation’s stated mission "To preserve the very place where America’s story began?”
The restoration of Colonial Williamsburg’s 18th century sites and the development of Market Square and the Duke of Gloucester Street began in the 1930s by John D. Rockefeller and the Rev. W.A.R. Goodwin. Both visionaries must be turning over in their graves once more.
Why does Duncan want to to spend $2 million for the Goodwin transformation, to be spread over five years, or $400,000 each year? The elimination of 40 of the much needed 48 parking spaces in the P3 lot behind Merchants Square and Duke of Gloucester Street and the installation a TV screen and splash fountain adds zero to Colonial Williamsburg’s ambiance.
Duke of Gloucester Street is already a much larger pedestrian plaza, as are the lawns of the DeWitt Museum, the Palace Green and the many colonial gardens. Market Square restaurants, the W&M Bookstore, Bruton Parish Church and Gift Shop, etc., all are open to the public and need nearby parking spaces.
The $40 million renovation of the DeWitt Museums will result in a world-class destination and will benefit everyone in the greater Williamsburg area.
The cavalier suggestion that parking will still be available behind the bookstore and Bruton Parish Hall is misleading; parking is very limited, save perhaps in the slow winter months. And how many visitors or residents would want to cool off in a downtown splash fountain when they could go swimming in their hotel pools or relax in air-conditioned accommodations?
Why is Duncan pushing this flawed proposal? Who will profit by this skewed Goodwin Plaza plan? Not the public.
Perhaps the construction companies? The real estate and architectural planners? Advertisers on the giant TV screen? Time to deep-six this proposal.
Mary Rose Schlatter
CWF Volunteer since 2002
James City County