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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

The Coors, Lo-Do experience

Every time I walk to Coors Field from the Westin, I get ticked off all over again that Great American Ball Park wasn't built at Broadway Commons.

Coors made Lower Downtown Denver what it is: One of America's great downtown neighborhoods. There are shops, restaurants, bars, condos and offices all around. I've been coming to Denver at least once a year for 25 years, so I've watched it happen.

I'm not saying that putting the park at Broadway Commons would have done the same thing to Main Street. But I'm certain that a lot more would have happened than has happened around GABP, which is pretty much nothing.

I know that Broadway Commons was voted down fair and square. But that was after the big dollar people in town put money behind the campaign against it.

Bad choice.

By the way, I was hoping to happen past the Real World Denver house on my way. I didn't. I'm on of the world's oldest fans of the Real World. My favorite moment this year was when the girl came home in tears after walking around in 5-inch heels looking unsuccessfully for a nail place. She was shocked no one was sympathetic to her plight. As Letterman says: Take seven really whiny kids, put them in a million dollar house with no jobs, and, yeah, that's the real world.


at 6:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree, John.

at 8:28 PM Anonymous Tom said...

I was for Broadway Commons also. Not only was it a good name for a ball yard but Mt. Adams would have been beyond the outfield. But my first choice was where the football stadium is. The Reds lost out to Mikey because the politicians panicked when he threatened to move the Bengals. A park there would have had the skyline and the Roebling suspension bridge in the background. Something to rival PNC Parks great setting.

at 8:43 PM Blogger David said...

As a teenager voting for the first time, even I saw Broadway Commons as the superior option.

at 10:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John -- the Real World house is on Market Street between 19th and 20th. LoDo's Bar and Grill is on one side of it, and Mattie's House of Mirrors on the other. It is currently being renovated, as somebody has purchased the property and is turning it into a restaurant. Not much to see! -- Chad

at 10:38 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I walked right past it. Now that you mention it, I think I recognized it.

at 10:53 PM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

John, you're 100% correct. Broadway Commons was a no brainer. Ironically, those opposing it were also no brainers (I hope that doesn't qualify as a banned word here).

I must add: it sure is far far better to be a Reds fan than a Cubs fan right now!

I liked Livingston's initial effort. Tonight he's proving he belongs. Hopefully Arroyo is taking notes. Of course, Livingston has to be consistently good. But we'll take 4 of 5 any week. Reds still in it. I'm going to have to change my mind about A-Gon. Holy cow! Why didn't he hit like this at Fenway?

at 10:53 PM Blogger Brad said...

It would have been next door to the jail.....

at 8:41 AM Blogger jb said...

Next to the jail was such a bogus issue, raised by the group that wanted to put the ballpark right where it is. Don't get me started on the television ads encouraging voters to choose the river site that were misleading and downright false. Now we're stuck with the same old, same old where fans leave the area right after the game to head home or over the river. Broadway would have revitalized that downtown area, giving fans something to do after the game in Cincinnati, rather than heading across the river. Have you ever looked at the number of police vehicle behind the jail -I doubt there is a safer place in Cincinnati.
I was Livingston pitch two innings in spring training and he would have been on my opening day team - what took the Reds so long to figure it out??

at 8:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were a few problems with the whole Broadway Commons idea. First off, there was no plan. The supporters mostly took an "if you build it, they will come" approach. I never saw anything about improving infrastructure (roads & parking), which is a huge issue in that area, not to mention plans for restaurants/bars & shops. Also, while BC isn't such a bad area itself, it is very close to neighborhoods that most people wouldn't want to go thru after dark. One wrong turn & good luck. Given that, I can see why the Reds preferred the riverfront. BC may have had more potential, but the current site was a safer decision; they knew what they were getting. If you're making a 30 year commitment, you're better off taking the sure thing. Could you imagine if the Reds were playing at BC during the riots. How many fans would that have scared away? Of course, some BC backers think that if the Reds were in the neighborhood, the riots never would have happened. And the Taliban never would have hijacked planes, either.

John Burroughs
Hyde Park

at 10:57 AM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

Ultimately, the neighborhood north of the Broadway Commons site would have changed for the better had the ballpark gone there. Being next to a jail is hardly any different than being in the Bronx (see, Yankee Stadium). Note: Yankee Stadium has been in a far worse neighborhood than OTR for many years, and while the Yanks' presence hasn't improved the hood all that much, you can't compare small, compact downtown Cincy with the more spread-out and more densely populated borough. Great American is a beautiful ball park and the river is a nice backdrop and the traffic issues are far better (the big downside to BC was the traffic issues) but ultimately a ball park on Broadway was better for downtown Cincinnati's fortunes.

at 12:41 PM Blogger RobG said...

Mr. Burroughs obviously does not understand urban development. Choosing Broadway Commons would have led to an immediate influx of capital from entreprenuers. With the city making the commitment to the stadium, business people would have been willing to risk their money on bars, clubs, restaurants and condos. That is the essence of public investment - it should have a recognized multiplier effect. The beauty of Broadway Commons would have been that the existing infrastructure of buildings would have allowed both small and large investments. The problem with the riverfront site is that the areas open for investment, aka The Banks, require commitment and coordination between large developers and local government, which is almost a guarantee for gridlock. For such a Republican city, by choosing the current GABP site the city chose the area that was least friendly to business investment. Sure, there would have been parking problems and infrastructure problems at Broadway Commons. But this is a city. Parking is supposed to be a pain. If you want easy parking, move to Atlanta. As for crime, that comparison the the Taliban is ignorant and unfortunate that shows no understanding of the micro and macro issues in Cincinnati and Over the Rhine.

at 1:05 PM Blogger Duke said...

As I've told everyone for the past four years. If the Reds stadium was at Broadway Commons I would be living near there right now.

It would have revitalized that district just like LoDo. I can only imagine what it would have been like. And I bet you would have see the return of the Mt. Adams incline. Sigh.

Well, now all the Mason/West Chester folks can drive to the game then drive home to go to their chain restaurant/bar for a late night drink.

Crime. So ridiculous. The media scares everyone away. I've been going downtown 15 years and have never once had any sort of trouble. Neither has anyone I know. Keep your scared butts in the 'burbs. Such a racist city it's sad.

at 5:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand urban development well enough, I just simply said that BC supporters never showed any plans to improve things. If it is as easy as robg says, than why didn't the BC group get business people & entreprenuers to announce what they would do for the neighborhood. And its asinine to say parking is supposed to be a pain. Look at Indy. I've been there for Colts, Pacers & NCAA tourny games. Parking is no problem. As for the Taliban comment, it cleary was not a direct comparison. It was only meant to illustrate the naivete of the BC supporters who believe everything would be perfect if only the Reds weren't on the river. Thanks for helping me make the point.


at 12:02 AM Blogger Glenn said...

Interesting discussion. I moved to Denver from Cincinnati in 1994, just when Coors was being built. I've come to know our current mayor, John Hickenlooper, who founded the venerable Wynkoop Brewery in Lodo, and became friends with Jim Tarbell (similar backgrounds, different talent levels). Tarbell used Coors as his model for trying to get Broadway Commons built. The main problem with the BC effort was the lack of support from the suburbs (not the fault of suburban voters, but rather that of the leaders of the effort).

In Denver, Hickenlooper and company convinced people that Lodo was a safe place, and one that had potential for future development. In the past 10 years, Denver's downtown population (the urban core, not even the Mt. Adams-type close-in neighborhoods) has grown from 20,000 to 60,000, much of it due to the construction of Coors to get things rolling. Each time I go back to Cincinnati, it pains mean to see what could have been. I seen hundreds of people pouring into Coors each game on bikes from nearby condos and neighborhoods and an area that is lively whether there is baseball or not, and really regret that Cincinnati didn't do the same.

Oh well. Always good to see the Reds in town here regardless, and all of the folks out wearing the colors. Next to St. Louis and Chicago, the Reds fans always represent the best at Coors......

at 10:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How bout building an Arena District in BC like Columbus did?

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