Some things just aren’t going to fly in Colatown — at least in the forseeable future. And some irritants, like the heat and the General Assembly, will always be with us. Then there are other issues that, frankly, Columbians are just tired of hearing about.
Here are those things that shall never again be named:
It’s hot. So what?
We revel in this simple idea from Mac’s on Main owner Barry Walker on beating the heat: “BBQ outdoors more.” And we like the attitude of USC art professor Brad Collins: “What heat?”
Then there is this perspective, from Mike Dawson of the River Alliance: “If you are too hot here, hop on down to the Marine or Army recruiting office. Enlist. Check the heat on a rifle range at Fort Jackson or Parris Island. Go to Iraq for an all-expense-paid tour in the summer. Remember how nice it was in Columbia.”
A signature arts event
We have unique events, such as the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Five Points, Artista Vista, the Columbia Blues Festival in King Park, Group Therapy’s Chili Cookoff, Vista Lights and the circus around USC football games.
So it’s OK that no REALLY BIG arts or music event has stuck. Do we really need to see Styx or K.C. and the Sunshine Band once a year?
From Tayloe Harding, dean of USC’s School of Music: “Arts are a daily part of people’s lives, and organizations that provide these experiences should do so in whatever ways they feel they can best affect the lives of Columbians.”
And from Colonial Center manager Tom Paquette: “There are very few successful, long-lived arts festivals. Most ... start small and grow ... by capitalizing on the strengths and interests of the community.”
OK. We get it. We shouldn’t force it.
Main Street shopping
The upshot here seems to be that the department stores are gone — get over it. Main Street’s future is in the arts, entertainment and dining.
Although consultants and the city keep pushing it, our group isn’t buying. The recent departures of Lourie’s and the Capital Newsstand just illustrate that.
And it didn’t help that two new office buildings on Main have little or no first floor retail space. A bank lobby, friends, doesn’t count.
From expert Rox Pollard, a commercial real estate agent for Colliers Keenan: “It would certainly be nice for Main Street to be more vibrant, but we must remember it is a dead-end street. In fact, it carries so few cars the S.C. DOT does not even have a traffic-count station on it. ...
“I can tell you the higher traffic of the Vista and Five Points is what retailers are looking for, not Main Street. Columbia should play upon its strengths.”
A pro sports franchise
Let’s face it, Columbia’s a college town. Even minor league teams haven’t been able to take root.
So bag it. And repeat, repeatedly, this lucid observation from Gerrit Jobsis, an environmentalist with American Rivers: “Don’t we already have a professional sports franchise, the initials being U-S-C?”