Monday, February 14, 2011

Will CentrePointe be our Tahrir Square?

Both are the hearts of their respective cities; both have seen tremendous changes recently. And protests. Especially protests. Now what?

The last update on the official CentrePointe website is this 2009. Surely we deserve better than this?

Will the Webb Companies ever tell us who the shadowy financier of this downtown project is? Or admit there never was one? (Our real problems might come if they ever do come up with the money.)

Will we learn from this experience to get our zoning laws improved? Will we stop bending over when developers say.."Stoop!" Will we insist on more information BEFORE the city gives approval? Will we listen more to preservationists? (but also realize that not every crumbling facade needs to be saved just because it is old!)?

Will we ever learn that "change" does not mean "progress!" Progress is good change; there is a value judgment to be made.

And what will we citizens insist be made of our Tahrir Square?

How about a new central park, with art..maybe even a BIG public art item, such as Chicago's Picasso sculpture? Or Seattle's gnome that eats a VW? Or a huge horse such as Lou-ah-vul's Pegasus? And a place to hold an annual Spotlight festival? A bandshell, picnic tables, and so on. Maybe even underground parking.

Or will this be the site of the UNneeded new Rupp Arena, as some wags have suggested is the REAL motive behind the Webb Companies' proposal?

Or the new city hall?

Will our Tahrir Square ever amount to anything?

At the very least Mayor Jim Gray should call for a public contest for ideas.

(We can get that IdeaFestival back.) The winner gets: naming rights. Ok, maybe nothing, but let's get going on some ideas here. Almost anything would be better than the status quo.

In the meantime, let's protest. How about a FlashMob at the Square, instead of Al's or Busters! Let's take our example from the truly inspired, brave, young protesters of Tahrir Square. They risked all.

All we risk is the status quo...the muddy, soggy, empty, ugly status quo.

I'm just sayin'...

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