Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Columbia Mallaise

People in Columbia have a strong proprietary feeling about the Mall. Remember the Poinsettia Tree debacle? I have to admit that it is hard for me to understand this. To me the Mall is a commercial entity, nothing more. But it's clear that it has served a particularly important role in the evolution of the New American City.

It was Main Street. Meeting Place. Downtown.

And, because of that, some folks feel that citizens maintain a civic ownership of the Mall. They feel that changes should happen with community input and approval. An example, this post from Chuck Bubeck on the Celebrating Columbia Maryland and its Future Facebook page:

Look for some new changes coming to the Mall Center Court starting next week in response to customer requests and to better highlight a major crossroads section of the Mall.  More seating and meet up space will be made available by better utilizing the space currently taken by the fountain, which will be removed.  While certainly an iconic landmark in the Mall, it's suitability and use has lessened as times have changed. What will continue however is the symbolic holiday poinsettia tree, which will still be built and displayed each season as it has for most of the Mall's long history.  The estimated two month work to update the Center Court area will be done at night after closing until 7:00am, beginning in about a week.

                                                            (Photo by Chuck Bubeck)

Responses to Mr. Bubeck's post were, for the most part, negative. A sampling:

  •  Sad
  • Sacrilege 
  • Is it too late to stop this?
  • Don't think I need to visit again.
And one outlier:

I applaud the change.  It always struck me as a waste of potable water and space.

All in all, it was a thoughtful discussion, although it definitely leaned nostalgic. And sad.

I fully admit that there is no way I could understand how long-time residents feel about this. After all, no matter what I do, I can't change the fact that I moved here in 1999. So tell me how you feel. Is this a bad move? 

Should GGP make decisions like this with community input, like CA or County Government? How can it? It's purely a commercial entity. 

Help me out here. Add your opinions: 

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