Road plan has lack of vision

By Joe Glenn
Glenn Metal Craft
I am writing in response to the meeting that took place at City Hall last week regarding the 21st Ave extension.
Most of the readers are probably not aware of this, but the city of Princeton is looking at spending $750,000 to extend 21st Avenue along the east side of the airport connecting Rum River Drive through the industrial park with 1st Street.
I sat down at the first exploratory meeting back in 2005 at Crystal Cabinets and voiced my lack of support for this approach. Additional traffic going through the park, in my opinion, is not a good solution for several reasons. The traffic no longer backs up in the park like it once did as many companies have flexible shifts so employees are coming and going 24 hours a day.
Another major concern is regarding safety. The number of semi trucks parked on the street waiting for loading docks has never been higher and many of these trucks are forced to back off of the street because of the close proximity of the building to the street. To the people that work out here on a daily basis, there is a respect and understanding of this. For the general public I am very concerned that a person who is rushed to get from point A to point B may do something foolish in an attempt to get around a large truck.
Security concerns were heard by all of the business owners at the meeting as well.
As it sits right now, with only one way in and one way out of the industrial park, our property is more secure as it is much riskier for a criminal to perform their handiwork on a dead end road. Most of the industrial park was present at this meeting and the tone was unanimous in that we do not want the road to cut through the industrial park for the reasons listed above.
It was also recommended by one owner to listen to the industrial owners and do nothing, save the $750,000 and make plans for a future road that we can live with.
The airport is also affected by this, as the crosswind runway is in the city’s cross hairs as well. If this road goes through, the possibility of having a crosswind runway is gone forever. The airport is a vital resource that sets the city of Princeton apart from surrounding cities and is a draw for the city when competing to lure potential businesses to town. Most business aviation is not the corporate jets but rather small four-place single-engine aircraft that are far more susceptible to wind and therefore benefit more by a cross wind runway. I would hate to see it, but lack of vision could be doing irreparable damage when it comes to the future of the Princeton Airport.
The reason for the push on the city’s part is they are in the middle of building a new public safety building for $2.4 million. As it sits now, emergency vehicles would have to drive around the city to access calls on the south side of the city. I think the cart is clearly ahead of the horse on this one and hope that the people on the south side do not pay the price for the lack of planning on this.
A cheap solution was offered by business owners to add a gate that allowed safety vehicles and first responders access through the park when the need arose.
I felt the general public needed to know what was going on out in the industrial park and airport. We don’t ask for much out here and do more than our fair share when it comes to supporting the city and local groups with the taxes that are paid and the many donation requests. The feeling by many business owners after learning that the city council didn’t listen and is continuing on with the elimination of the future crosswind runway and the continuation of the 21st Avenue extension at their next meeting on the Sept. 12 is furious.
If this road goes through after the amount of discontent that was voiced by the industrial park owners, I for one will seriously reconsider any future plans of expansion in a city that is arrogant enough to blatantly disregard public input and do whatever it wants.