City Council members say there’s no doubt that more parking is needed downtown, especially with the forthcoming arena and all the commercial and residential developments that have been envisioned in the blocks around it. But they’re also thinking about green space for playgrounds or just benches and trees to give people a place to chill out. Green roofs even came up.
City planners are proposing that 5 to 10 percent of each development, be it a shopping area or office building, should be green space. City Council member Sharon Fearey said in a workshop last week that she’s hoping the city can convince developers to put their pieces together to make larger open areas in the heart of downtown. She also advocated for green roofs, a concept used in many cities to cut down on the heat generated by all the blacktop, cut energy costs in the buildings and offer grassy space in the most unlikely of spots — several stories above ground. Fearey said green roofs could be integrated into parking ramps since many people don’t like parking on the top level anyway because there’s no protection from summertime heat or weather.