About two weeks ago, The Journal Gazette was buzzing with mysterious news about the Downtown Development Trust acquiring four properties on West Columbia Street, also known as The Landing.
The Landing is one of downtown’s promising hot spots, so an investment like this could mean big things if the space is used in the right ways.
Right is a relative term, so I’d like to help start the conversation about what the right developments might be. Share your ideas with me on Facebook and Twitter at @JGCoffeeBreak.
Here are five possibilities:
1. Loft living spaces affordable for young people.
Affordable for young people is key. Sometimes I think there’s too much of a focus on luxury living spaces downtown, and not enough focus on making living spaces affordable for the people who actually want to live there. By affordable, I mean somewhere in the range of $300 to $600 a month. It would be amazing to see living spaces like that in the middle of everything that’s developing on The Landing.
2. A pedestrian-only street.
This might seem like a limitation at first, but it’s not. If The Landing were pedestrian-only, it would make it safer for bar-hoppers at night, and it would open up tons of opportunities for more outdoor events in the warmer months. The Landing is a historic landmark, so let’s restore it and experience it by foot. Pedestrian-only spaces encourage people to get out of their cars and create the engaging community we want to see develop downtown.
3. A thrift shop.
Thrift shops are perfect for The Landing because they’re fun places to go with friends and affordable enough that you can actually buy something when you’re on a budget. Another benefit is that the store is always changing, so you never get bored, and even if you’re not much of a shopper, you’ll probably find something to amuse yourself on a mid-afternoon stroll.
4. Affordable fitness alternatives.
What if there were an affordable fitness center where you could take dance or yoga on weeknights? It would encourage healthy living and community involvement, and again, you’d have the walkable feature for people who live downtown. It would also give people who don’t live downtown an excuse to come to The Landing.
5. One-of-a-kind restaurants and bars.
If we’re going to have more eateries and nightclubs, let’s make them interesting. We could tap into The Landing’s history as a local music haven with a quirky piano bar. Or what about a cool brunch spot with outdoor seating to play up the pedestrian-only space?
I can picture it now. You’re sitting outside in the 70-degree bliss of a mid-spring morning, sipping coffee while reading your favorite morning newspaper and enjoying a column by yours truly. It’s a lovely thought.