From: Ray Gibson
Nostalgia, dreams and wishes aside, it is long past time to say goodbye to the Crump Theatre. It has served its purpose well and deserves its place in the history of Columbus. What is not observable in any strata of Columbus, whether it be financiers, manufacturers, business owners, bureaucrats or anybody else, is the will, or drive, and the initiative to do something about preserving the Crump.
As it stands now, the Crump is an embarrassment to the community. It is an aging money pit into which many thousands of dollars have been poured in order for high-priced consultants to announce that nothing can be accomplished without a continuing subsidy for operating costs.
This is as it should be. What is missing is that no one has the plan that will transform this unused space into the vital, integral part of the community it should be in order to sustain itself. The reason that this element is missing is that the vitality and desire for the Crump to sustain are not present in the culture of Columbus. The hard work, loyalty and unflagging commitment of many volunteers who have worked very hard to save the Crump should be acknowledged, but their sacrifice is very like the Seventh Cavalry against the Sioux at Little Bighorn. It can only end one way.
Remove the gross, rotting corpse of the Crump. Replace it with a parking garage dedicated to the downtown employees of Columbus, those pesky little critters whom business owners have to pay money to and give benefits to in order for them to sell their owners’ goods, keep track of their money, take inventory and do the hundred other things it takes to run a business.
Downtown business is the only zoning district in the city that does not require owners to provide space for employees. Often when parking is at a premium, people indulge in what the planners breezily call “spillover” parking. That means they park in front of my house to walk to work and shopping downtown.
This would be a good use of the space formerly occupied by the Crump. The biggest obstacle to face for this to happen would be overcoming The Rule of Fred. “Well, you know, every time my friends from Bloomington come over to visit, they can always find a place to park. What’s the problem?”
I would love to see the Crump survive and prosper, but I have no faith that anyone in Columbus can make this happen. I am very sorry, but this is the way I feel.