Recent comments to the editor of this newspaper about the deficient appearance of our downtown Main Street landscape and its consequences are, if anything, understatement. There is now a circular relationship between visual amenities and declining occupancy in progress, in my estimation. All citizens should be concerned. May I suggest the two new incoming administrations at city hall and atop Sweetheart Circle duly take note and seek redress cooperatively. An effective remedial strategy might well involve giving serious credence to installing a G.S.U. presence downtown (we have a successful example in Savannah, currently) with particular emphasis on the neighborhood where the four main streets intersect. "Development" there (however that may be defined) would afford the potentiality of expanding outwards (and perhaps "upwards"). Bringing people (initially, members of the university community), on-site daily would generate commerce, social interaction and high-energy discourse. A "creative climate" would be fostered and nurtured. A proactive environment generating community optimism would find encouragement. Hopefully, downtown residential occupancy would be simultaneously effected.
Stratagems would revolve around bringing a G.S.U. presence downtown, incrementally. One may envisage such venues as storefront classrooms, studio facilities directed to the needs of fine and performing artists, broadcasting studio additions, new art galleries/exhibition halls and perhaps even a satellite student recruitment facility, student bookstore annex, etc., etc. Finally, it is not unthinkable to comprehend one of the vacant restaurant sites affording a splendid locale for a revival of the old University Faculty Club. Myriad costs are admittedly entailed: property, equipment, planning, personnel and "opportunity" just for openers. But the rewards could be prodigious. And this seems a truly propitious moment to contemplate a beginning. The alternative may be sustained decline.