Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's About Nightlife, Stupid.

Most everyone in the Lexington area continues to be abuzz about the CentrePointe Tower, the latest in a never-ending series of ill-advised construction projects that destroy entire city blocks of wonderful old buildings and then end up diminishing the city's value. Worse, some of these types of projects end up not even being built when all is said is done, but the developers still make a freakin' fortune from these aborted projects regardless. Developers don't really have to give back all those millions they raised for these half-baked projects, even when they end up not happening. That's the beauty of the construction business. Maybe I should get into it.

I love Lexington and have lived there on and off for many years, but let's face it: it doesn't exactly have a bustling downtown. And what little nightlife of value it had is going to be utterly destroyed by this 'tarded skyscraper scheme. The useful part of town will inevitably move somewhere else, of course, as Mia's and The Dame already have, but that's not the point. The point is that Lexington doesn't need this stupid cock-and-balls-looking skyscraper, and the people who are in the greatest position to change Lexington nightlife don't know jack about nightlife.

No, seriously. What we have here are a group of people who are trying to figure out "gosh, how can we make downtown vital?" when they have no frame of reference for vitality. These people probably never set foot in Buster's and would have been profoundly uncomfortable if they had. They likely don't frequent bars all that much at all. They're in the class who can afford to eat in a five star restaurant yet they're totally lost looking at the menu in one. They don't know a good steak from a mediocre one. They're equally clueless in a fancy club or a roadhouse dive, preferring only the humdrum median of, say, T.G.I. Fridays. They don't dance. They don't smoke. They fall asleep at the theatre or the opera. They don't know how to have a good time. So it's no surprise that these types of people fail at making downtown Lexington an exciting place to be, because they wouldn't know excitement if it came up and bit them on the elbow.

(Yes, I know I've just painted a large group of individuals with a very broad and sweeping brush. But even if I'm wrong, I'm still right. That's dialectic physics.)

I think Barefoot And Progressive said it best:

"What Lexington needs is leaders who are willing to recommit our city to creating the atmosphere necessary to attract the largest-growing class in our economy for the good of our local culture, but just as importantly, for the future of our economy, our community and our people.

The future of the American economy and thus the future of the Lexington economy will be contingent upon the attraction of the creative class. To paraphrase Richard Florida, those communities that get this basic fact will survive and prosper and those that don’t will wither and die. What the proposed Centre Point tower entails is not a fostering of the creative class, but a war on the creative class, and the battle lines have been drawn."

- - JSH

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