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December 3, 1977 Around Adair with Ed Waggener

The article below first appeared in the December 3, 1977, issue of the Daily Statesman. Topics included an update on the dogwood project, a far-afield mystery picture, a call about HeadStart cots, discussion of the idea of a downtown shopping mall, and the impact that planned new retail space would have on downtown. --Pen

By Ed Waggener

Dogwood totals climb The Dogwood Project continues to get commitments, although not at the rate the Project Director would like. There are now 817 dogwoods committed. The latest to ask for dogwoods include: - J.D. Harper, who wants 25 dogwoods for the Circle R and for his home. - MR. and MRS. CHARLES SPARKS, who want 5 dogwoods for their home on Greensburg Street. - MR. AND MRS. JAMES E. SHIRLEY, who want 10 trees which they will plant in memory of Richard Shirley on their farm at Bliss. - RAMONA and JOE LYNN BARBEE, 15 trees for their home and other properties. - HARRY and BEA BEARD, 5 dogwoods in memory of George Jr. Staples, to be planted at the new West Lake Cumberland Regional Library.

Wayne Livesay, Adair County Extension Agent, says that he believes the Extension Service will have a dogwood expert to travel to McMinnville to assist in buying the dogwoods on February 2. The plans now call for a massive spring planting.

Anyone wishing to participate in the Dogwood Project should call Marie Finn at 384-xxxx to sign up for the trees. Before the trees are actually bought, each participant will be contacted again to confirm his or her purchase and to inform the participant of prices of various size and varieties of dogwoods.

Answer to mystery picture still not in
Lewis Jessie of 210 Frazier Avenue, Columbia and Barry McKinney, Pelly Lane, both called last Saturday with a guess on the mystery photo which ran in last Saturday's Daily Statesman. Both Lewis and Barry guessed that the photo was of the chapel in Wandering Woods near Cave City. It's a good guess, but still not the correct one. A new clue: It is in Tennessee, but not more than 150 miles from Columbia.

Old cots thrown away
We received a tip yesterday morning that the Lake Cumberland Community Services Organization, located over Firestone and Lowe's Drugs, was throwing away perfectly good army cots, which were still in the original boxes. "It's a terrible waste," the caller said. However, Rosemary McQuaide of the LCCSO said that the cots were ones used in the Headstart. "Mr. Ford (Doug Ford, director of the HeadStart program) told us to throw them away," Ms. McQuaide said. "The cots were beyond repair," Ms. McQuaide said. "The canvas was torn on many of them and we couldn't repair them." The cots weren't in their original boxes, she says. "They come wrapped in paper. We just put them in the boxes so that the trash men could handle them better."

Will the mall idea work?
The suggestion of a downtown Columbia mall continues to get limited response. Councilman James Reece says that he favors looking into the idea of a mall. Dr. M.C. Loy, the owner of Ben Franklin, says that he thinks the idea deserves study, but is skeptical about the practicality of it.

If the idea entails making second entrances at the rear of each store, Dr. Loy says, that would mean added expense and he doubts that many would want to go along with it. "But I think that the merchants and property owners ought to give it full study," Dr. Loy said.

Jerry Vaughan, owner of the Men's Shop, says that he very much favors checking out the possibility of a pedestrian mall on the Square.

There are drawbacks to the suggestion. Mostly, they involve money.
There are only 52 parking spaces on the Square as it is laid out today. Often, as many as 10-12 spaces are taken by law enforcement officials, other officials, and the merchants themselves, so reducing parking on the Square itself shouldn't be the biggest drawback.

Some plans for the downtown pedestrian mall show that these 52 spaces could be quickly reclaimed with straight-in parking on the Jamestown, Campbellsville, Greensburg, and Burkesville Streets blocks next to the Square. Those streets would be blocked to through traffic, but parking could be increased there.

However, if parking is reduced on the Square, access to the businesses on the Square would need to be made by an additional rear entrance. That could mean new fronts (or rears, if you will), and, in most cases, adding an additional cash register and another checker.

The pedestrian square would need to have fountains, benches, restrooms, and rest and play areas. That would cost some money.

Downtown at a turning point?
There is every reason to prudently believe that downtown Columbia is at a turning point. Either there will be improvements and the area of vigorous business activity will get even better, or the downtown will be allowed to drift, gradually, into a less important shopping center.

It is almost a certainty that at least one shopping center will become a reality in 1978. The Columbia Development Corporation has exercised its option on the Sine Turner property. That means, at least, that the developers mean business.

Downtown Columbia businesses on the Square and on the Walks off the Square have a total of about 100,000 Square feet of space among them.

An estimate of the size of the new merchandising centers is that most in towns the size of Columbia offer approximately 100,000 square feet. Heck's, the West Virginia discount store which has expressed an interest in locating in Columbia, usually builds stores with over 40,000 square feet of space.

What this means is that downtown Columbia, which is probably the strongest downtown business district in Kentucky, will have competition.

The competition could be deadly if the downtown chooses to be complacent. But if downtown shows signs of improvement, then the new competition could be healthy, and would only enhance Columbia's position as a shopping center for South Central Kentucky.

There's one big plus factor
There's one big plus factor: Property on the Square is relatively cheaper than new buildings off the Square. Rents, too, are much less than comparable space in shopping center in other towns.

That means that downtowners could spend quite a bit upgrading downtown before the costs overtake the cost of getting new stores in outlying sections of town.

This story was posted on 2019-12-08 09:22:07
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