For years, we rallied to get an expansion to the Civic Center. We were always close, but never quite there and then finally, this time, it happened.

Now that the final rendering is out, there are more than a few of us that are very disappointed. The expansion does nothing to reflect or respect the architectural heritage we lost under misguided leadership of the 1960s and 1970s.

The expansion follows the lazy, boxy, linear design that has so eloquently graced our strip malls and other passe buildings. If we want the Civic Center to be a point of pride in the community, we should design them to reflect that.

I went to the open house for the design and it was largely the same thing. It was simply the outline of boxes. Before this process was even under way, we apparently were pigeon-holed into a very bland design.

No one will give a rip about sparkle panels in 30 years, but they will keep and use a well-designed building that fits with the community.

Civic buildings are supposed to be architectural highlights of the community, much like the courthouse. I fear that this design will not stand the test of time.

This says nothing of the building's urban form — Second Street will be fronted by a big blank wall, much as Hy-Vee faces Riverfront Drive.

We lost Sallets, The Saulpaugh and others, maybe we should look to the past to design the future.

I think I speak for a lot of the community members when I say, "Can we have another choice?"

Matthias Leyrer

North Mankato

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