Friday, January 23, 2009

The Right Choice

For once, BOTC agrees with the Cuyahoga County Commissioners.

BOTC believes that the Mall site is a far better choice for the Medical Mart and Convention Center than the Tower City site. However, our reasoning is not based on money, but rather, based on what we believe is good for downtown urbanism.

BOTC has felt that the placement of the facility at Tower City would have dampened the dynamism of Cleveland’s central core. A visitor to Cleveland could have come to Tower City and never set a foot outside the complex. A medical mart visitor would come from the airport via the Rapid and conducted business, eated, and sleept all in one complex and never emerged into the city.

With the convention facility on the Mall, visitors will be required to navigate the entire central core. Visitors will migrate from hotels around downtown, traverse Daniel Burnham’s Mall, Public Square, and the Warehouse District and Playhouse Square, because they will not be able to stay in one self-serve complex. Cleveland natives will mix everyday with convention visitors on our downtown sidewalks, hopefully enhancing city life.

BOTC also likes the Mall site because the architects and urban designers will be forced to re-interpret and grapple with Daniel Burnham. The Mall was designed as the "green lungs" of a growing industrial city—yet the Mall has remained somewhat fallow in recent decades. The insertion of a magnet facility will re-energize the Mall and resuscitate Burnham’s vision of civic Cleveland.

Now, let’s hope we can get this thing built without corruption.

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