Letters to the Editor

Design contest could bring good ideas for Madonna Plaza

Kohl’s in Madonna Plaza
Kohl’s in Madonna Plaza dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Kudos to The Tribune for priming the pump of community ideas for the future of a declining Madonna Plaza (“Apartments? Convention center? Batting cages? What’s a good fit for Madonna Plaza?, Aug. 12”). With Amazon and the continued rise of internet sales, vacancies in brick-and-mortar retailers — and malls in particular — are on the rise both throughout the country and right here in Madonna Plaza.

Thinking ahead about what should be done with this key site in San Luis Obispo, and reaching out to a number of community leaders about what should happen to it made for a fun read. Ideas for a mixed-use village, a convention center, housing and experiential retail were intriguing. But one idea was missing.

How about having the city of San Luis Obispo sponsor a design competition for the future use of the site? Given the design and planning talent at Cal Poly, the rich bench of architects, planners and landscape architects in the city, and the stable of visionary developers in the community, it just might spawn an imaginative and viable reuse plan for this now-troubled site.

Should the city be interested in pursuing such an idea, count me in!

T. Keith Gurnee, San Luis Obispo