Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Tarnished Crown

My rant on what’s wrong in the Queen City

Dare I say . . . An unfinished Fountain Square?

Ok, I really do not want to say anything negative. I am a huge supporter of the Square’s redesign and redevelopment. I might have scooted the fountain east a little bit but big picture, they did a fantastic job. It will be even better when the trees grow in and maybe some awnings go up on the DuBois Tower. I love the programmed activities including but not limited to the movies on the big screen, Bengal’s Bash, free concerts, broomball, the fish toss, the flower carpet and the Gemutlichkeit Games.

Photo from CincyImages

That said I am just so anxious for it to be 100% finished. I want to not have to walk around that dumpster on 5th Street. I want to walk through the Probasco Market arcade from 6th Street. I am sure all the involved players are ready for it to be finished too: 3CDC, the City of Cincinnati, Rock Bottom . . . Most of Fountain Square reopened on October 14, 2006 -- slightly (5 weeks) longer than the original 12 month long construction schedule. That was followed by a rolling opening of what is called the North Grove. A June 29, 2007 article in the Enquirer stated, "The final phase, the North Grove at the base of Fifth Third Bank, opens in early September." September came and there was another article in the Enquirer on September 20, 2007 as Cincinnati prepared for Oktoberfest. It stated:
While original construction plans aimed for a September 2006 completion date, 3CDC has been working on a "rolling" re-opening since last October.

"Coordinating construction is really challenging, and just because you've missed a day, because of something like rain, doesn't mean you're off by just one day," Donabedian said. "You have to coordinate with contractors who have different schedules. You have to coordinate with business schedules and make sure lanes are open. We also had an open site and another construction schedule to work around - those are just a couple of the challenges."

"All work on the square should be finished by the end of October," Donabedian said. "We don't want to see any cranes or construction for the holidays," he said. "We just need everyone to be patient a little bit longer."

I more than anyone maybe understand construction delays, coordination issues, street closures, and the like. And I am sure Fifth Third’s much needed façade improvements added to the delay. And I’ll take those improvements over what was there any day. Maybe I would have liked to seen a little more pro-active communication on the status of the project as it continued through the summer and the fall. Maybe post a press release to the myfountainsquare.com website on the status of the project on a more regular basis to keep everyone informed. Last post in the "Press Releases" was on 3/30/07 about an Easter Egg Hunt. But I’ve always gotten a response when I use the "Feedback Form" on the website. And I truly believe everyone involved in Fountain Square, including Bill Donabedian, are working tirelessly to wrap this thing up and make it the best public place they can. (Calls for Bill’s head over "Bearcats vs. Buckeyes" were ridiculous. See article here.) Anyway, they are close to complete and I really do doubt we will see any construction lingering around the holidays. Ah. I just had to get it off my chest. I had to just whine a little, "Are we there yet?"
Construction photos taken on 10/28/07.

No comments: