Friday, December 30, 2005

Downtown Revitalization

The reason that there has been recent talk about revitalization downtown is because that happens to be the part of town where politicians and newspaper editors work. Let's face it. Unless you drive to Pine Valley or Waynedale everyday, you aren't going to do much thinking about those parts of town.

So now our local leaders want us to do business in the same part of town that they do business in. Do they think that Clinton St, Lafayette St, Washington Blvd, and Jefferson Blvd need more traffic? Sometimes downtown you can see the light change from red to green and back again, and you have only advanced five car lengths.

Traffic and parking set the limit on how much business can grow in a certain part of town. Downtown businesses may be already doing all the business it can this time of year. During the summer months it could attract pedestrian and bicycle traffic. When I get my bike fixed up, it would be my pleasure to be a part of such a trend.

But multimillion dollar hotels do not attract pedestrian traffic! Actually they do, but its usually homeless people asking to use the bathroom. The occupation rates for existing hotels already hovers around 50%, so there isn't much of a market for this service.

No, the goal is to attract conventions. Fort Wayne will have an extra empty building in the hope that the Summit City can play host to a bunch of people wearing Spock ears or dressed like D+D characters.

Many insist that if we attract conventions, Fort Wayne will be on the map. Do we want to be on the map? Fort Wayne has a balance of big city amenities and a small town feel, which is what most people cite as their reason for living here even when they have the option of living elsewhere.

Really, all they really want is a big expensive building that they can claim responsibility for. In that case, I propose that the Reservoir Park hill be converted into a giant pyramid in which to entomb city councilmen in when they die.

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