Re: The Value of “Pipe Dreams”
Having an open mind for creative options—even “pipe dreams”—on the Cast-Fab site is well worth consideration. Just look at Clifton (my former neighborhood). Market analyses showed that Ludlow Avenue would be mostly fast-food restaurants today if a proposed Wendy’s (presented as a "deluxe urban store") had replaced the Esquire Theatre as developers planned to do 30 years ago.
The neighborhood theater was already closed and gutted—a victim of competition from suburban multiplex cinemas, VCRs and cable TV. However, Clifton residents fought years of legal battles that reached all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court—and then worked to raise money to buy and reopen the Esquire.
Clifton’s residents, like Oakley, desired to hold on to a neighborhood business district that anchors a walkable, livable community and opposed a regionalization of their neighborhood. Importantly, their adopted plan verified this neighborhood vision and a goal that new businesses "should contribute to the desired mix of commercial activities."
Most ridiculed the preservation of the theater as a “PIPE DREAM”, just as some trustees on OCC dismiss creative alternatives for Cast-Fab site as “pipe dreams”. But today, 35 years later, that “pipe dream’ is very successful and critical to the character of their neighborhood. They’ve avoided becoming the regional fast-food restaurant commercial strip constantly presented by external market forces.
In a landmark case that now provides great importance to adopted neighborhood plans, the Ohio Supreme Court justices ruled 7-0 in favor of the right of the neighborhood and city to a desired mix of commercial activities, to preserve and protect the character of a neighborhood, and to promote the overall quality of life within a neighborhood.
Let’s not dismiss any creative vision for our neighborhood (even if characterized as a pipe dream). And, let’s not dismiss any creative vision in Oakley’s neighborhood plan that is now underway.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” -- Margaret Mead