Much has been made of Batavia's mall in recent weeks. So we here at The Batavian thought to turn to a citizen who has never been afraid of expressing his opinion on the subject, Bill Kauffman, author of Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette. Kauffman has often used this mall in his writings for a national audience as an example of big government gone bad. In particular, we asked Bill Kauffman what he thought of City Council President Charlie Mallow's recent comment that the city should consider demolishing part of the mall.
Here's what he had to say:
The mall ought to have been dispatched long ago to that circle of hell reserved for brutalist architecture. For 30-plus years it has been a monument to misplaced faith in big government and capital-p Progress. Urban renewal was a catastrophe for many American cities, Batavia not least among them. The demolition of old Batavia was a crime against our ancestors, ourselves, and our posterity. Any discussion of human-scale, pedestrian-friendly, small business-centered alternatives to what remains of the mall is welcome. More than that, it's a sign of civic health. Batavia still matters. (And while we're at it, perhaps that imbecilic and pretentious spelling of "Batavia City Centre" can be corrected to "Center." Batavia is neither Canadian nor a suburban strip mall straining for "class.")
What do you think?