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On the subject of the Mall: Bill Kauffman

By Philip Anselmo

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?

Timothy Paine

My exact feelings are we need to seriously evaluate how we are going to spend money. To just keep throwing money at the same problem is dumb. To keep putting more and more money into the Mall without the City benefitting is dumb. How many generations are going to keep paying for dumb desicions? At some point it has to be acknowledged that something stupid was done. It's now time to say we made a mistake but we're not going to keep feeding the beast. Before we spend more stupid money let's see what we can do to change the future instead of repeating it. If it requires a public vote I'm all for it. It's just time to stop bleeding tax dollars on something that doesn't have public support. The Council is there to represent us. Call them, e-mail them and please come to Mondays meeting to state your opinion on the Mall. Bill Cox begged the MMA to show up in force at the Council meeting. I beg the public to do the same.

Aug 12, 2008, 8:19am Permalink
Mark Wiatrowski

I thought all along that the mall was a bad idea. I too liked the look of Batavia before it was torn down in the name of progress. I'm sure that with all the wasted money used to build and repair this thorn, the previous buildings could have been saved.

Aug 12, 2008, 12:34pm Permalink
Laura Russell Ricci

I whole heartedly agree with such a well written opinion. I wish I had said it first...

I struggle with trying to figure out why anyone would visit our downtown. The City Centre is not the only, but is a major part of why we don't have as many visitors. If this city of ours had the forthought, instead of greed and mismanagement, we could have a downtown that looks like other small city's downtowns, like Auburn or Ithaca. New or local shops in old styled buildings. We need to think of why a visitor or tourist would want to stop here in Batavia and not anywhere else...

Aug 12, 2008, 12:49pm Permalink

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