Just One Block in Downtown

Looking out at the forlorn parking lot on the corner of 14th and Lucas Avenue in downtown, my thoughts began to wander to what once occupied the block bounded by Washington, 15th, Lucas and 14th. Looking at the Sanborn maps, it appears that the block once held an abundance of houses, a church and school, and perhaps dozens of businesses.

Admittedly, the living conditions might not have been the best, but I have to wonder if an auto repair shop and surface parking is the best use of the land.

Surely downtown will not be as vibrant as we wish until parking lots become less desirable for property owners than new houses and businesses. I can vouch as an employee of an institution on this block that most of the parking sits empty most of the week.

But for the time being, I’ll imagine the clip-clop of horseshoes on the cobblestones and the sounds of children playing in the alleys of what was once a vibrant and bustling block.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. david says:

    It is kind of amazing that it is economical to make land that close to downtown into a parking lot – not even a parking garage, a parking lot. But I'm not sure what to do about. I bet the property owner would love to do something else with it (and make money in the process) if the demand was there.

  2. Justin says:

    I think the saddest part is the demand for surface lots is there. Think of is, how many people travel downtown on modes of transit other than personal vehicle? Until we're willing to branch out into other methods an abundance of ugly surface lots will be in demand and will be necessary.

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