The official groundbreaking ceremony for New Albany’s Scribner Place redevelopment project will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Monday morning, November 6 at the corner of State and Main.
Following the ceremony (I’m guessing circa noon), there will be a “taste of New Albany” lunch and reception at the Grand Convention Center at 138 E. Market, with food and nibbles from New Albany restaurants, and a cash bar (with at least one beer from New Albany’s only brewery). The public is invited.
Readers are invited to consider what all this means to us as a community.
Posterity will identify many reasons to judge the legacy of the Scribner Place project, which NAC initially opposed on the grounds that it was not sufficiently comprehensive to reverse decades of institutional neglect in downtown New Albany. We were thinking of something more in keeping with the Marshall Plan in postwar Europe.
Thankful instead that the process of personal growth continues throughout one’s life, we have since come to see the Scribner Place project as a demographically astute and uncommonly cost-effective partnership between public and private concerns (dare we say, a “win-win”?), and one that offers numerous benefits to just the sort of visitor, investor and resident most needed if the revitalization of downtown New Albany is to succeed.
It is true that the bedraggled and increasingly irrelevant supply-side economists of the wasted Reagan years surely will continue to stir when their Coulter-inspired Viagra wears off, and to bray their remarkably dull objections to the notion of local government investing in redevelopment projects like Scribner Place.
As those who fancy a “progressive” pint and prefer the social contract as a means of civilizing mankind’s fundamental brutishness, we at NAC heartily disagree. If in fact this is “our” government, then it follows that the Scribner Place project represents investment in our selves, and in the heart of a city that sorely needs it.
The Scribner Place project has been preceded by private investment, and in its wake, the project will increase the rate of private investment. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and no one connected with the project has ever depicted it as a panacea, and yet as presently calibrated, it is difficult to imagine better bang for the available bucks.
It is lamentable, yet in the end perhaps understandable, that as the conceptual essence of the Scribner Place project became more clear over time, it dramatically exposed to public view the petty vindictiveness of a minority of less capable local political non-luminaries.
Their ultimately unsuccessful rearguard action against the urban renewal symbolized by Scribner Place – their largely self-serving and petty political charade characterized by efforts to interject populist culture war into a simple funding equation — illustrated to all of us the hurdles of retrograde consciousness that must be transcended by those for whom a vision borne of faith in education is the starting point for defining success and progress.
No one doubts that much heavy lifting is ahead.
On Monday morning, look at the buildings on Main Street that face south, toward the Ohio River that nurtured New Albany in the city’s youth – those days when people actually could — and you’ll plainly see dozens of windowless views of the emerging Scribner Place development.
Previously in this space, we commended Lambert Distributing for exposing the company’s long shrouded upper-floor panes to the light of day. As Scribner Place takes shape, there will be ever greater incentive for other building owners right across the street to do the same by taking down the sheet metal and the plywood and reopening their spaces not just to the light and the reflection of Scribner Place, but to the outside world that New Albany so often has seemingly refused to acknowledge.
The skeptics are about to be proven wrong. See you on Monday … and kudos to Mayor Garner for staying the course on Scribner Place.