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  • in reply to: Wonderland Columbus – News & Updates #335193

    I’m certain the process of securing a building of that scale is full of obstacles, so I don’t regard it as an indictment on Adam and Co. that they weren’t able to make it happen after all.

    It seems that they were able to generate quite a lot of buzz and excitement about the project though….and I can’t help but think that for the average person who was invested in the Wonderland building becoming a reality, that the organization’s credibility will suffer greatly from this. This setback also has to be put in context of a good number of different projects on the arts and cultural scene here creating a lot of excitement, only to suffer some rather swift demise. I think of things as wide-ranging as BoMA, BLD, the Pulse nightclub, and any number of events or programming which wasn’t sustained in spite of abundant hype. Things fail in other cities, true enough– but all of these things petering out only serves to confirm cynicism in a city which already has a certain inferiority complex.

    With that much said, I can’t see where it makes any sense whatsoever to continue with the “Wonderland” branding, especially since the name and logo were inextricably tied to that particular site. The insiders and most faithful supporters of the Wonderland project may believe this to show some sort of resolve and unflappability, but I think that to most people, that whole name/brand just completely deflated. It just seems like the latest ambitious thing to flop here.

    It sounds like they have some great committed people on board, but I really think they would be wise to re-brand. Unless their funding or legal recognition as a non-profit is tied to them advertising themselves as “Wonderland”, I just see it as really bad PR to continue forward with the name. That name is now going to be synonymous in the public imagination with “putting the cart before the horse”. They went “all in”, and it blew up in their face….in spite of what I’m sure was their very best effort.

    I don’t think to change the name would be to admit any kind of defeat; it’s simply the most pragmatic thing to do.

    in reply to: Scioto Mile – News & Updates #440470

    BG, I find your comments here to have more than a tinge of class-ism.

    “seemed to be used like a Columbus city pool, rather than something a little more refined and majestic.”
    “gave the feel of a NYC fire hydrant being opened up instead of a multi-million dollar water display”

    It almost sounds like you simply consider THE RABBLE to be an eyesore, like they are mucking up your view.

    What exactly is “riff-raff” anyway?? That seems like a code word that people feel like they don’t need to explain.

    in reply to: Dunkin’ Donuts at Broad & High – Evicted #434915

    Walker, you have offered a valuable service to the public with your website and forums. Thank you.

    in reply to: Dunkin’ Donuts at Broad & High – Evicted #434910

    It’s interesting that whenever there is a business failure of an epic kind here in town- whether it’s Dunkin, BoMa, City Center, downtown condos, et al.- that people on this board quickly swoop in to fault the business practices, the missed opportunities, the lack of common sense, so on and so forth.

    Fault is seldom laid at the hands of the consumers themselves, nor of the city leadership.

    Broad & High is just the latest much-ballyhooed addition to our city that looks to have been ill-conceived and out-of-touch. Even with the economy not withstanding, it is truly PATHETIC that as much of that space is vacant as it is. Coleman, Casto, and whatever parties were involved ought to be holding their heads in shame for having trumpeted this development as a cornerstone for downtown. If this is a cornerstone, it sure as hell is setting the pace for irrelevancy.

    I for one don’t believe people here will support downtown business to any serious extent, barring some major cultural shift. When city leadership botches a major opportunity like Broad & High, or the redevelopment of the City Center site, it makes it so much harder.

    I’m sure this is not a welcome sentiment by the booster crowd. I like living here just fine. I just get tired of the delusional thinking. Columbus is Dayton. That’s okay, and call it a day.

    in reply to: Main Street Bridge Opening #391341

    Yes, at least we have a sweet bridge now. I’m sure Experience Columbus is printing off some new postcards with the bridge in front of the night skyline. That’s worth it.

    in reply to: Main Street Bridge Opening #391339

    That makes pretty much about zero sense.
    COSI, CCAD, and CMA already had a “creative campus on broad street”, which COSI left to move across the river. ALONE. There was never any talk about moving the Art Museum or CCAD over to Franklinton. Those institutions are very happy to stick around and expand their presence in the Discovery District with the Metro Library, Thurber House, Columbus State, etc.
    Oh and I’m sure the people who live in and are trying to improve the Franklinton neighborhood love to hear that their living in “nowhere”.

    – I love when people are so definitive in their wishful thinking. Look, whether you believe the account of what the bridge was intended for or not, there was most certainly a plan in the works for either or both CCAD and the Columbus Museum of Art to move across the river. Do a casual dig through the Dispatch archives and you will see this. CCAD and CMA ultimately decided to stay put, but it was a dilemna for both institutions and one in which the economy probably hastened their decision more than anything else. COSI was never intended to be an island all by itself. The city did have a vision for that entire area (all of the land facing west before you cross over into the Bottoms)

    And for crying out loud…that’s great if you want to be “Pro Franklinton” but don’t be so thin-skinned. I don’t think the COSI employees are thinking about Franklinton as being “nowhere”. I think they’re thinking of a hugely expensive project that doesn’t seem to have a tangible purpose befitting of that expense. Franklinton is very long-haul redevelopment so the bridge doesn’t make sense in that light.

    Again, if you and others don’t want to believe this account of the “real” purpose of that bridge (for the creative campus), that’s fine. I’m not saying it’s definitively the case and it’s just something in the air. Do I tend to believe it though?

    Yeah, I do. The city leadership here has a history of making these types of blunders. Cart before the horse. I’ve seen it too many times. Fortunately for them there’s plenty of people who will try to apologize and rationalize these blunders rather than hold them accountable. Which is why we end up having the same crop of folks on council for a decade at a time.

    in reply to: Main Street Bridge Opening #391329

    I spoke to someone affiliated with COSI, who insisted that this bridge was constructed under the premise of connecting downtown to the “creative campus” that was to be the confluence of COSI, CCAD, and the Columbus Art Museum. This was the grand vision, not to merely connect downtown to Franklinton (that redevelopment being a much longer-term project).

    This was a revelation for me to hear, but it may not even be any great secret. Some digging around in early articles about the bridge may reveal this is what Coleman and city leaders had in mind.

    If this is in fact true, it looks like the city put the cart before the horse here, banking on some rather unstable agreements with CCAD and the Art Museum.

    I’m less concerned with the cost going over budget than the idea that the city may have erected this bridge based on shaky agreements it made with CCAD and the Art Museum. That would seem even more irresponsible.

    I’m told this original purpose of the bridge is fairly common knowledge amongst COSI employees, and that they refer to it now as “the bridge to nowhere.”

    in reply to: Indianapolis VS Columbus #372191

    I remember seeing the “best of” restaurants in NUVO, Indy’s arts weekly. Those are always revealing as per the depth and breadth of restaurants in a city. I recall seeing things like Benihana winning “best Japanese”, PF Changs winning “best Chinese”, CheeseCake Factory winning “best desserts”…you get the drift. Of course, some of those results occur here too, but the Indy best-ofs read like a roll call of national chains.

    If you haven’t been to Indianapolis in a while, it’s definitely worth a visit and you will probably be surprised by how much the downtown has grown and come into its own. As per the critique that downtown Indy is all chain restaurants and stores….I would gladly take that here in downtown Columbus. At least it’s SOMETHING which will pull people downtown.

    in reply to: Indianapolis VS Columbus #372189

    Having lived in Columbus nearly all of my life…but having taken at least 7 trips to Indianapolis– some thoughts:

    – Indianapolis’ downtown definitely makes more of an outright impression than Columbus’ does. There’s really no comparison. What’s funny is that I remember going through there very early 90s, and thinking how much of a ghost town it was. At that time Columbus probably had a more dynamic downtown. Indy has made a big push and outwardly at least, it’s paid off.

    – Indianapolis has more of a hick element than Columbus does. You don’t see this downtown so much, but if you go to the fairgrounds + race track areas it’ll really smack you in the face.

    – Their downtown mall, Circle Centre, is the same kind of build City Center was (same developer too I believe), and yet Indy managed to make it work. It’s thriving in fact. The reason for this is obvious: they built AROUND it and did not make it stand on its own. Lots of street-level restaurants and complementary retail. And just a few blocks down is the stadium, convention center, etc– so it’s all very convenient. So, for those who parrot the fashionable line that City Center was a “doomed bunker”, Indy’s doomed bunker is doing quite well. What doomed City Center was the inertia of powers that be in trying to develop around it, not the architecture itself.

    – I have friends in Indy involved with the music scene and they complain about the dearth of live music venues there. When I first heard this, I thought, “well, that’s the midwest in general”, but then after spending some more time there, I saw they sure weren’t kidding. Very few choices for live music there. Columbus’ venue scene is not really all that hot either, but Indy seems like a desert.

    – Finally, what I’m most impressed with in Indianapolis is the Soldiers’ Monument / fountain in the middle of “Circle City”. This is a true public plaza and you will see many walks of life here congregating and enjoying the space.

    I do think Columbus and Indy are very comparable and that both cities can learn quite a good deal from each other. Anybody in Columbus who looks down at Indy does so at their peril. If there is one thing Indy has which Columbus should blatantly rip off, it’s their grand public plaza. We have nothing of the sort, and something tells me Columbus Commons will simply end up being that Arena District manicured park, Part Two.

    in reply to: Being Midwestern Nice #362870

    I agree that “Midwest” is just too broad. I actually see some pretty distinct cultural differences just within our own state. Cleveland and Cincy are quite different from Columbus, and Youngstown is another planet.

    As far as the culture of Columbus goes though….I think there’s a definite reluctance to stand apart from the group or to be confrontational. I don’t believe people here are terribly polite or warm, but I don’t see a lot of overt rudeness either (a lot of obliviousness, but that’s another matter…)

    I guess I don’t really see where Columbus has much of a particular culural personality one way or another. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’d rather that be the case than us be like crass, obnoxious New Jersey. But I’ve lived here for over 30 years and nothing really stands out. Like many other things about the city, it’s just kind of “in the middle.”

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