Sunday, April 25, 2004

Two Great Ideas, Free, for the Commercial Appeal

Just doin' my civical-type duty.

These didn't occur to me until I had already started the group of posts below on the Riverfront Development Corporation's Promenade plan. The Commercial Appeal ought to send a team of reporters up the Mississippi to see how other cities from Minneapolis to New Orleans make use of their riverfronts. Include itty-bitty towns, too. Ride ships down the river to see them from a river's-eye view! Report on the good and the bad, the well-done and the fiascos. Tell us how financing was achieved and what effect it had on city budgets.

My other idea is buried deep in a long post, so I fear most won't see it. Instead of the usual civic-private-public garbage being proposed for the Promenade, why doesn't the Commercial Appeal get way out in front with a radical and attention-grabbing proposal?

Host a national competition to design the next Central Park, a public park for the twenty-first century, on the Promenade property!

The prize money would be a fraction of the proposed costs of the RDC plan, the prestige would be inestimable. We would draw world-wide attention to this city in a way it has never been. The paper can spear-head the thing, help raise the prize money and pull together a team of judges. Imagine urban planners and designers from all over the world coming here to see the possibilities. We could then make a legitimate claim for a true "world class" something. Cost to City? Negligible. Civic pride? Unmeasurable. Respect for history? Perfect. Result? A public space that draws visitors from the world over.

Hell's bells, the international attention alone will have people looking at us who might never have given us a second thought. We'll see opportunities presented that no one expected. Developers and financiers will become curious. Even the Pyramid might attract someone with a plan to save it! There is literally no downside to this idea except that some local money-boys won't make out like the bandits they are.

Great ideas, free. Run with 'em.

No comments: