Posted by Rebecca Miller
The first time I walked down the Fulton Mall, I was completely awestruck by the beauty of the thing. Statues, fountains, art, and brick inlay seemed out of place in the ghost town surrounding me (it was a Saturday). Since then, a rather empty and discouraging Fulton Mall has become a fact of life, more or less. That is, until the amazing Craig Scharton rendered me awestruck once again.
A few hours of Urban Planning 101 during the Downtown Academy’s walking tour of the Mall left me amazed at how the exciting Mall of the ‘60s became the not-so-exciting Mall of the ‘10s. Did you know that there are second-story windows behind those gloomy metallic storefronts? Did you know that the reason you feel unsafe on the mall is because you can’t see past that obnoxious nature protruding from the ground? Did you know that there is an authentic Renoir at Fulton and Mariposa…and you can touch it? Did you know that the owners of our cute little skyline are expecting this market to boom in the coming years?
Whichever way you lean when it comes to revitalization (roads rule v. pedestrian nostalgia), you have to admit that the history of this little section of downtown is pretty incredible. You have to wonder what people were thinking when they made the decisions they did, and you also have to wonder if we are doing the same thing today. Best intentions don’t always lead to the best outcomes (depressing, I know, but true). The good news: we have a lot of smart people asking a lot of smart questions. And that’s a start.
Good thing to have smart people asking smart questions. Better to have smart people taking action. That seems to be the ingredient that is missing.
Yes! Civil discourse and an informed group of people are a great step, and smart action takes time. The revitalization process takes years and it takes a tremendous amount of patience. It is encouraging that people are taking the time to both learn about what goes into the revitalization process and to participate in it. We’re so glad these conversations are happening!
“Did you know that the reason you feel unsafe on the mall is because you can’t see past that obnoxious nature protruding from the ground?”
What does this mean?