Friday, June 10, 2011

CentrePointe. What do I know about it?

TrusT Facade renovation
Last night Mrs. Sweeper and I went downtown, not to the Thursday Night Live but, to the gallery opening at Gallery B.  I am not particularly fond of the group who played last night and I do like looking at good art.  The guys from the new TrusT bar were there showing off their "signature" drinks and talking about the upcoming grand opening.  I will say that if they are taking as much care in details on the inside as the are on the outside, the place will look fantastic.  The new facade is looking nice.(see left)

There are some folks downtown who are making things neat and clean.

The artwork was interesting and sometimes I think that I can do better (and times when I know that I cannot) but it all looked a bit pricey.  Maybe I just don't know real art when I see it.

We then did wander down to Cheapside to see if we could run into some friends or at least some folks that we knew.  She says that I cannot go anywhere without knowing someone and this night was no different.  We even got introduced to some new people, and as usual, when folks find out what I do the topic moves in a singular direction - CentrePointe.  

CentrePointe. What do I know about it?  Have I read anything about the new plans and how forward thinking it is?  What is my opinion?  Well, where do I begin?  I usually start by trying to gauge their thoughts and just why they have them.  Then I try to counter their passion for making this space a socialist common area from what used to be (and still is) private property.  One woman last night is looking for an enclosed play area for the children living in the recently built condominiums and apartments.  She also wants NO hotel and NO residential of any kind on that block, as we are getting overbuilt in residential downtown.  It came as a surprise to her that most downtown dwellers are single or childless couples and that many condos are rented out - not owner occupied. 

Many people are of the old school of thought, that we need more retail to bring folks back downtown, while I know that the retail will return when the residents do - and not before.  We have tried the "bring retail" method before and the "bring offices" method, now we are on the "bring entertainment" kick to revitalize downtown.  So, now we have offices in old stores and new bars/restaurants in old offices and some struggling residential redos in both.

The conversation then turns to the things that are missing.  Specific, non-mainstream, limited appeal types of venues and facilities that the infamous "they" need to provide for some of us older folks.  The old folks are not the only ones who do it, in fact it is most prevalent in the younger "creative class" ones that I hear from.  I rarely hear the words "We need to..." it is always "They need to provide...".  When someone does come along and announce their proposal for a solution, the chorus then rises "But that is not what I want".

Ms. Gang and her group were here and the endured the heat of the old courtroom and the cacophony of opinions from young and old, knowledgeable and not and pledged to involve our local talent.  I hope that she likes herding bees.  Ms Gang is talented and has some good ideas, but if what I heard in the last week is true, she will have to work very quickly.

The City will be utilizing the CentrePointe "pasture" for music and food vendors during the Fourth of July festivities, but soon after that I am expecting and announcement that funding is in place(not coming but in place) and excavation for the parking levels will break ground very soon - like before Fall.  What will rise above them is anybody's guess, but they will sit above them soon.

If you were Dudley and the funds were in hand, would you go with what you have approval for or wait for a new round of controversy.  Would you build on the limited good will that has been generated in the community or do you tweak again the design that many say is a timeless facade befitting our emerging downtown?

CentrePointe. What do I know about it?  Maybe nothing, but I am going to wait and see.

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