Sounds like a daydream, but it was part of the original mission statement. Unfortunately, an important aspect of the vision was overlooked: The Central Park seamlessly meshes with the city around it.
So, instead of a theme-park entrance, we’d like to suggest that the Preserve embrace the urban landscape around it, and vice versa. Yes, that means revamping the perimeter of the property so it’s invitingly accessible in the everyday sense—not just for special events.
At the same time, why let the Meadows mall continue to die its slow death in a location that’s just as central as the popular Town Square? Let’s kick-start it into a versatile retail destination that would fuel visitation to “The Meadows District.” Dismantle the decades-old indoor mall concept and open up, as is popular among warm-weather Western retail centers. Use part of the Meadows land for a solar-covered parking facility, and convert Valley View Boulevard to either two lanes or an all-out pedestrian corridor to serve as a transition between the two attractions named in honor of our city’s birthplace. Here’s a bonus idea: Mix in urban-style housing—which the city sorely lacks—amid the project.
Crazy, right? It seems to have worked for New York.