Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another Project from the Mayors Stimulus Package

This past week I stopped by the Woodland Park and took this shot of the former Realtor's Plaza.

This, of course, was an item on the Mayor's wish list for stimulus money and something that I commented on when the list first became public. At the time I did not know what the plans were for the site and I hoped for some type of shelter to welcome the visitors to the park. I would be disappointed when I found out the plans.

I was hoping for something of a nice, simple facade like the building that used to occupy that spot. I also know that the City builds thing on the cheap, but what I wanted was way more than $150k.

I remember the old auditorium vividly. I should, I passed by every school day for 7 years . Coming and going, morning and afternoon and yes, I used to go home for lunch in those days. Then there were the summer days playing in the park, being in or near the office and elsewhere. For a youngster, it was an imposing place and the park directors told the kids to stay out of the balcony, for safety reasons and "the bats".

I never saw any of the shows that were presented there, it had already fallen out of use. My father told me of boxing and wrestling matches and I even found a photo of one on the KDL website. From what I've found on the Library's Local History Index, there were a lot of shows around the early 1910s. The streetcar line used to run by there and at one time they had to install a streetcar siding to allow many more cars to held there for after the performances.

The building was taken down in the early '70s and there followed much discussion about a new Community/Senior Center on the location. A mass of opposition killed that idea so that it sat vacant and ugly, until the Board of Realtors volunteered to fund a beautification project., in the 1980s They only spent $25,000 and boy did it show. Cheap material and labor and a crappy design. We would have been better off with the seniors.

Well, what are we getting for $150,000? A parking lot. A parking lot to replace a parking lot.

It is not what I expected and not what I wanted, but it is better than the ugly Realtor's Plaza

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