Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Business

September 17, 2011

Evansville exists everywhere

(Continued)

Cities must have people. Downtown Evansville has parking lots.

Cities must have energy. Downtown Evansville has empty sidewalks.

True, I have not been there in all seasons and at all hours, but the downtown Evansville I saw last week has only the potential for the life it does not now possess.

Grand plans for downtown areas are difficult to implement.

Indianapolis has done an outstanding job of downtown resuscitation, but it took 30 years and the process is ongoing. Downtown Fort Wayne has bold plans and a good chance for success. Downtown Terre Haute slogs forward, never quite fulfilling the promises of its advocates. Downtown Hobart has a better opportunity than most smaller cities with its currently-ignored lakefront. Downtown Gary needs a Marshall Plan.

Some analysts envision future downtowns as merely specialized functional niches in multi-nodal cities. In English, downtown becomes just another place in cities of many neighborhoods. Perhaps, downtown as we have known it is just a relic of the steam engine era.

Nonetheless, until proven otherwise, I’d make downtown the focal point for urban investment.

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