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August 13, 2008 - 12:26pm

Video: Downtown Batavia, as it once was

posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, history, pacino.

In February, Present Tense Books, hosted a talk by Josh on Patti Pacino centered around old photographs Patti's father either took or collected of old Batavia.

The collection of photos is posted here.

It contains a number of photos related to the destruction of the north side of Main Street to make room for the mall many people, including City Council President Charlie Mallow, call an eyesore.

Here is a video slide show I put together of from those old photos:

I haven't found anybody so far -- long-time resident or not -- who has good things about the mall.  Even Mitchell Chess, president of the Mall Merchant's Association, doesn't come across as a particular fan. With all of the conversation about the mall on The Batavian this week, not a single commenter has come forward to say it should be saved.

In a back-and-forth with Mallow over whether we were hyping his statement that parts of the mall (which, frankly, I too quickly turned into "all of the mall") should be razed, I quipped, "Mr. Mallow, tear down that mall," which was good for some comic relief.

But it can also serve as a rallying cry. 

Not everybody is pleased that there is so much heated discussion over the mall, but sometimes in such discussions a vibrancy can be found for finding new solutions to old problems.

Nobody has a plan yet, and the city and the MMA are spending way too much time on signs, bird poop and whether Bob Bialkowski has a conflict of interest, but the community needs to move beyond these trivial matters and focus on a long-term solution to the eyesore of a mall. 

A good plan will improve downtown, not waste taxpayer money, help the current merchants find new Main Street-facing shops and create jobs.

Mr. Mallow, tear down that mall.

 

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