Wednesday, June 01, 2005

 

Fountain Square is Not Yours - So Don't Try to Own It!

Enquirer Title: Citizen Reaction - Leave it Alone

And you read the 'Reader Responses', and they are almost all negative... If there is anything that is Sooo Cincinnati, it's this beat ourselves up attitude.

Here's some Samples:

"No one goes downtown now. So rehabbing The Fountain will have a great
impact on the people that are not there. Use the 42 million to put life into a
dead city. Fountain Square is there, it is nice, it is NOT an attraction. NO ONE
GOES Downtown to see the FOUNTAIN." - Anderson

"We go to the Montgomery Inn and then head back north for more reasonably
priced entertainment. $42 to redo fountain square, I hope not, these are the
type of political decisions that are driving everyone out of the city. Come on
council you can do better!" - Mason -

Did this guy even read the proposal? Council do better, it's 4 Million in City money and $38 in private investment.

Will $42 million dollars to renivate fountain square make me feel wow I
can't wait to go down town? NOOOOOOO what are we thinking here do you think any body cares about what down town looks like. They care about feeling safe. What does our city think about using $1 million of that money on programs to get rid of gangs drugs and viloence. Once they make us feel safe then they might get my attention of rehabing fountain square. Until I feel safe downtown they better keep teir money in the bank - Covedale

Make us feel safe? That's the whole idea... the only way to make things safe is to have people out. Does anyone feel unsafe walking from Great American to Fountain Square directly after a reds game, or walking to lunch during business hours? Of course not, and why? It isn't because there is a cop for every person, it's because there area HUNDREDS of people around.

I could go on and on... but it would just make me mad. Here is the reality. When the banks don't get done, people in Cincinnati bitch. When Stadiums for sports stadiums are built (after a referundum on the damn issue) people bitch they cost too much. When Fountain Square has a redevelopment plan with only 10% of city money being layed out... people bitch.

Is it a perfect plan? I don't know, I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as a perfect plan. Is it progress, yes.... Will more people stick around to go to outdoor cafes after work... definitely...

So here is my request... quit being a typical Cincinnatian. Don't bitch... be supportive of a plan to help change the city.


Comments:
If we're talking the Fountain Square area in general, I think you'll find that there is a decent crowd down there on weekend evenings. I think a redevelopment in the square to allow more 'foot-traffic' brick & mortar storefronts (i.e. Jo-Beth, Simone's, etc) would attract even more people downtown.

My concern is the area of Over-the-Rhine...each time I go down there, it seems like Gothic City...EXTREMELY dark...and feels unsafe. I think we the city invested a bit of money to place more lights in the area it would help w/ not only patrolling policeman, but the hesistant feeling of entering this area of town.
 
Wait a minute!
Joe says: "So here is my request... quit being a typical Cincinnatian. Don't bitch... be supportive of a plan to help change the city."

He condemns Cincinnatians for being Cincinnatians.
And then he wants them to be sheep and blindly accept the program.
And finally he wants a plan tht will change the city. All of those people that have responded to the survey thought about it and most are saying this ain't gonna change nothing. But their thoughts don't mean anything?
How is this plan going to help Cincinnati given all of its problems?
 
It's a CONSERVATIVE city....this NEEDS to change NOW!
 
I've long thought that the problem with this town is not what or where, but the attitudes.

Good post joe. The #1 reason to support the plan..
 
I agree that changes need to take place downtown. But $72 million for Fountain Square?

I would rather that $72 million go towards creating new dynamic spaces and increasing residential development. I would have loved to have seen the empty lots on Sycamore and on Walnut Streets be developed, with spectacular new urban parks and plazas.

And Over-the-Rhine is the key to changing everything downtown...save Over-the-Rhine, and it becomes a cultural center. After that, development will come much more easily.
 
Joe:

If I were on Council right now, I would vote to approve funding for this project. The reason being I'm impressed by the level of private funding that's being committed here, and I want to keep these corporate leaders involved in rebuilding our Center City.

That having been said, I think you're misunderstanding the sentiments expressed by these Cincinnatians. I don't think they're trying to be negative or pessimistic. I think you're seeing the same things we saw at Bold Fusion, and all the public input sessions 3CDC held.

The public doesn't think this is a good use of dollars. They're skeptical that this will have much of an impact. A few more restaurants downtown? A bookstore? For a population saturated with both, and more on the way via Kenwood, Rookwood Commons, Rookwood Exchange, Millworks, Newport on the Levee, etc., it just doesn't bowl them over.

My biggest concern is that 3CDC doesn't seem to listen to the customer very much. All those input sessions, and practically nothing changed. Now, you & I went to many of those sessions-- can you say the original got a positive response?

I'd listen to the customer, and look at what's powering growth in other downtowns. 42 million is a lot of money. You could fill the funding gap on the riverfront with it. Or you could buy and develop Broadway Commons, install streetcars, build a non-profit grocery, and hire on a LOT of ambassadors or even more police.

I'd bet any of those ideas would generate more excitement than this plan. Most people view Fountain Square as one of the few parts of downtown that's working as intended. They just don't see a glaring need for this.

I don't know which side is going to end up right, obviously. I know the average joe on the street isn't an urban planning expert, but I also many of these same corporate leaders were against Broadway Commons, and helped make Fountain Square what it is today-- remember the Albee Theatre?

Again, I'd vote to give them the 4 million, but I think dismissing the public's overwhelming disapproval of spending money on THIS particular project as 'Cincinnati' attitude is just wrong, and you could admit you have a little partiality towards whatever the 'Cincinnati USA' crowd is pushing this week. You're a great guy, and I'm a BIG fan of your blog, and I certainly respect your opinion, don't get me wrong. But you have your own bias on this.

Bold Fusion was a big turning point for me because I recognized that most YPs take what their employers are selling with a healthy grain of salt. The folks most directly involved in YPCincy (you know who you are) seem to be very fond of the company line, on the other hand.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, until you starting yelling about everyone just being negative, when they might just be looking at with past experience in mind.
 
"I'd listen to the customer, and look at what's powering growth in other downtowns. 42 million is a lot of money. You could fill the funding gap on the riverfront with it. Or you could buy and develop Broadway Commons, install streetcars, build a non-profit grocery, and hire on a LOT of ambassadors or even more police."

42 Million is a lot of money, but 38 million of it isn't the city's to allocate. It is not fair for you to say that the money could be used in other areas, when if those other areas were being addressed the money would not be there because they are not in the interest of 3cdc at the time.
 
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