This is a week of endings.
As those things go, sometimes they are reasons to rejoice. Other times, an end brings sadness.
No one will shed a tear, however, when the last of the heavy equipment, strategically placed orange-and-white cones or yards upon yards of yellow barrier tape are removed from the Fourth Street corridor in downtown Columbus by the end of this week.
The Republic’s weekly Fourth Street updates have chronicled important developments over the two-month-long, $1.7 million project. Those news reports have understandably included a fair amount of hand-wringing from store owners and customers who have dealt with the disruption.
But with the end in sight, the upside of this vision to create a more pedestrian-friendly corridor in this already popular arts and entertainment district is beginning to generate some gosh-darn giddiness up and down Fourth between Franklin and Jackson streets.
Now that we’ve gotten a good idea what this plaza project will really look like, the “dark cloud” that’s been hovering over the district is finally dissipating — and we’re able to imagine what “sunshine” will do to our psychological outlooks.
“I look forward to the days when they have street fairs, and they have vendors set up down here,” attorney Stan Gamso commented to The Republic last week. “I think that will be a great thing for the community.”
The popularity of outdoor dining in downtown Columbus in warm-weather months ought to increase significantly along Fourth Street now that the widths of the sidewalks have gone from 8 feet to 14.
n More room for street-side tables.
n Better atmosphere for gatherings of people.
n New opportunities for merchants to also bring their wares outdoors.
n More reasons for downtown to be a destination.
The September sounds of Fourth Street — from jackhammers and bulldozers — will soon be replaced by the normal noise of November. And when warm weather returns after the first hint of spring, it’s then that the appreciation will be fully
But there’s another ending just around the bend, and that, of course, is the political season. It’s consumed much of this year and on the state and national level started even earlier than that.
The political season has turned up the volume on November noise — to the point where the mudslinging in television ads has already caused some of us to hit the mute button. We’ve been blasted with jackhammers and bulldozers of a figurative nature. In just three days, I can sense a universal sigh of relief, “Thank God it’s Wednesday.”
But as in a basketball game that’s close and winding down to the final buzzer, who doesn’t want to stay up and see who makes the winning shot?
With interest very high in national, state and local races, we’re diagramming our political playbook for Tuesday to give you the best possible coverage in print and online. That includes developing coverage online throughout the day Tuesday at TheRepublic.com. I hope you’ll be a part of that, emailing your Election Day stories to us at tips@TheRepublic.com.
And once the final votes are tallied, there will be sadness among the losers and rejoicing among the winners — and perhaps a few will mark that ending at a familiar watering hole in our “new” downtown entertainment district.
Tom Jekel is editor of The Republic. His column appears each Sunday. You may reach him by phone at 379-5665 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org