COLUMBIA, 10/20/11 (Beat Byte) -- In a June Columbia Daily Tribune editorial, Landmark Bank owner and longtime downtown resident/observer Mark Landrum lambasted Columbia's leadership priorities.
Entitled District of Discombobulation, Landrum's op-ed has proven a gold mine of frank observations about the City of Columbia from an unlikely source.
In this segment, Landrum's primary theme is clear: City Hall hasn't made downtown Columbia or the central city a priority, and we've all suffered as a result.
"...the parking monstrosity at Fifth and Walnut streets..."
He starts with the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts and the Youzeum, prior to their rescues by Mizzou and Columbia College, respectively. "They are closed most of the time," he observes. "They received no funding from the city."
What does City Hall spend our money on?
Why itself, of course, including what Landrum calls the "tacky extension of the city offices in the old Daniel Boone Hotel, where the city had the opportunity to make a strong architectural statement, and the parking monstrosity at Fifth and Walnut streets, where the city did, unfortunately, make a strong architectural statement."
He also blames the City Council, for "devolving responsibility" for the central city's well-being "to myriad self-interest associations and groups, which by nature disperses resource allocation rather than concentrating it according to importance."
These groups, Landrum notes, have failed to "adequately incorporate the interests of MU, Stephens College and Columbia College," instead focusing on plans that are "short-sighted and ad hoc."
"...the tacky extension of the city offices in the old Daniel Boone Hotel..."
Landrum wraps his thoughts with a number of positive observations, all from the private sector despite the public sector's vast presence in downtown.
Among the "many really good things downtown," Landrum cites The Blue Note, My Secret Garden, Ragtag Cinema, the Columbia Tribune, "the marvelous remodel and restoration of Commerce Bank, Broadway Brewery and Blue Stem."