Our Urban Challenge: Make It Awesome

In my last installment of this series I said we’d need to “build it first” in order to attract people downtown (and to the urban core) to shop, play, learn, and live. Today I saw something like this idea in action. We have a new downtown market at the most prominent intersection — Walnut and South (soon, I hope, to be the site of Springfield’s first bicycle corral). This “it” I’m referring to can be any amenity that makes downtown life attractive. The new Bistro Market does exactly that.

I went downtown today hoping to drop in for a bite to eat seeing as how it’s waaaay more than just a market, including a bar, coffee shop, and dining. The place was totally packed. The scene above shows a moment of clogged traffic at the 4-way stop with people hustling across the street to get at the food.

What happens next?

That depends.

I have a suggestion for the CID people: That bicycle corral you’ve been considering would really make a nice, hip addition to this nice, hip market.

My 15-year-old daughter looked over my shoulder just a few moments ago and asked if I’d been in the market. Turns out she beat me to it last night having  bicycled downtown with a friend.

“Isn’t it awesome?” she asked.

This from a kid who cannot wait to leave this town.

Now, re-read my last installment in this series. Here’s a refresher:

I swear I’m not making this up. The following is a snippet of conversation I heard at the Mudshouse. The interlocutors were high school kids:

Kid 1: “There’s just too much sprawl here.”

Kid 2: “Yeah, not enough density.”

Kid 3: “It doesn’t matter. We’re not going to live here anyway.”

How do we make our urban core more dense and, thus, have a chance at making Springfield the kind of place where these kids want to live?

Want to keep my kid and others here? Want them to be productive members of the community? Want them to love this place? What to attract others who will love this place?

Then build them something other than suburbs. This market is a good start. Keep the momentum going.

Our Urban Challenge Series:

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