by Michael R. Allen
McEagle Properties made an unprecedented and commendable move for a developer: the company launched an interactive discussion board for its “NorthSide” project. The idea was that rather than hear rumors about the project, citizens could get their questions and concerns answered directly and publicly by the developer.
As someone who complained for years that McEagle was avoiding all public engagement, I was pleased. Of course, not everyone concerned about the project spends time online, but many of the most vocal critics do. The discussion board is at least a start at dialogue.
However, so far the discussion board has generated a scant 12 posts, and questions and comments directed at McEagle going back to July 7 have been left unanswered by McEagle.
Meanwhile, the discussion board of the newly-organized North Side Community Benefits Alliance has been home of much discussion among many different people. There have been 56 posts, and the threads read like conversations.
Of course, most conversation is happening offline — at City Hall, block parties, neighborhood meetings, non-profit board meetings and even at the neighborhood saloon. McEagle has certainly generated a lot of discussion, but little of it has turned up online.