Wednesday, April 14, 2010

5 Years at the Fairgrounds

On the grounds that were fair, I like the idea of Pretty Decent Lawn that will create a green axis connecting the old Fairgrounds gates* with the Liberty Bowl.

As a lover of gates, and those in particular,

I can't help myself.

Yet the larger Fairgrounds project is not only unbuilt, but under-demolished, under-visualized and incredibly under-imagined.

By fall 2010, we'll have the Lawn, the Liberty Bowl, parking and trees, the latter 3 of which we've already had for 40 years.

But we still don't know whether we'll keep the Coliseum, the Arena (along the axis of the Lawn), the Creative Center, the Pipkin Building, or what we'll do with all the empty space we will have even if we don't demolish any of those structures.

I don't think I'm just being an itinerant civic butthead to say that after 5 years of public meetings, public input, studies, committees, RFPs, ignored RFPs, demolitions, closings and evictions that we would should have a much stronger sense of what the Fairgrounds will become.

I know that large tracts of empty real estate render Memphis catatonic before their highest-and-bestest radioactive mega-value, but 5 years and counting and waiting should be a sign that we need another way to rebuild our city.

* In this rendering (the only one I've seen), the present gates don't appear. I don't know what to make of that except to say that I can't believe Fairgrounds nudgers and shruggers would have such bad taste as to not use them.

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