Sunday, February 19, 2012

The "What If?" Game

One of my favorite family activities is the "What If?" game. What if we were going to cast all of our friends as characters in the Muppet Show? Who would they be?What if you could design any house you wanted--what would it be like? What if you could pick your favorite stores for the Mall? This game has helped to pass the time on many a car ride or restaurant table wait.

I admit that I have occasionally played, "What if you could re-make the Wilde Lake Village Center?" on several occasions. (Remember, this is a game. For one's own amusement.) For a long time I was stuck on the idea of making it a kid's birthday party center. A bouncy castle/inflatables place in a village center? Wow! I was pretty excited about adding all all the shops to surround it--a place to buy birthday presents, and a coffee shop for parents to hang out when kids were at parties...There are a lot of kids' parties happening each year, and I could imagine Wilde Lake being the dream hub of a lot of the action. Perhaps some of these same businesses would make parties at the Swim Center more appealing, as well.

None of this changes the fact that I do not own this location, I know virtually nothing about the development of retail centers, and I do not speak for anyone--as far as I know--in Wilde Lake or Columbia. It's just fun. Fun to brainstorm. Fun to imagine.

So, for your amusement, I present my latest "What If?" concept: what if they turned the Wilde Lake Village Center into an Historical Theme Park? This would make it possible to keep the original layout, maintain the courtyard, and so on. Can't you imagine it as a tribute to the Golden Age Of Columbia? Of course, David's Market could remain, but their employees would dress in the height of 70's fashion--leaning a little hippie-ish, I would think.
There would be a recreation of the original Welcome Center,showing the original film, plus a new home for the Columbia Archives. This would also serve as another venue for local charity events, as the Rouse Building once was.
Businesses would be the sort that the original Columbia Pioneers treasured and long for still--chosen both for them, and to appeal to a new generation wanting to get the Old School experience. An ice cream parlor?Cheese shop? Arcade? Maybe a retro themed candy/toy shop to purchase the sweets and treats of the by-gone era. And perhaps The Wilde Lake Historical Theme Park could be the center of the resurrected City Fair that so many people miss. I'm thinking we'll need a place for 70's themed cover-bands to play, too.

I'm stuck on rides, though. Theme parks generally have rides.Any suggestions? What would be the ideal Golden Age of Columbia Theme Park? And would we pay to go there?

I know I would, because I never got to be there the first time around.There's a lot that I want to know, and it sounds like it would be fun.


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