Oh, boy, did I get it wrong in yesterday’s post Does Anybody Else Remember Convention Place Mall. Since I came up with zip when I Googled the building,I incorrectly assumed it was part of the original Convention Center project.
And I wrote this whole nostalgic piece about the horror of the late sixties, the riots, the war, the unrest associated with huge social change, complete with a nice chart that tracked Cincinnati’s population loss. I’m in the process of putting together a simple history of city involvement in commercial real estate development so we can use the information to improve our current decision making process and I was trying to imagine the historical factors that got us started down the path of public development.
As usual – less than an hour after I hit “publish” – somebody, this time a former Enquirer reporter with a better memory than mine, corrected my mistake. He was working downtown at the paper when Convention Place was built and remembers it as part of the 1st renovation in 1986 or 1987. Another reader contributed the name of the architect: Thomas Hefley, and once I thought about the style of the building – well it’s obvious that the real reporter is right.
So on cincyopolis stumbles towards some mutually agreed upon version of the truth, making friends with lots of well-informed Cincinnatians along the way. I wouldn’t put myself in this embarrassing position if I didn’t believe from the bottom of my heart that historical perspective is crucial to making better decisions about future public investments, If I knew the information was available somewhere in an organized format – even if I never saw it – and if I could be assured some Economic Development administrator was familiar with that information and using it on a regular business, I’d mind my own business and trust the system, spend my days practicing my Italian or writing a memoir or something. But as far as I can tell, city government only looks forward to the next deal with no time for any critical thinking about our past, assuming any and all building in Cincinnati is a good idea as long as they can put together a financing package that’s legal.
As always, Citizens, thanks to everybody who is part of this conversation and helps.