Tuesday, September 28, 2010
For the past decade, it has been very sad to watch the complex located at the corner of First Avenue and Diamond Avenue slowly decay. First, Buehler's BuyLow decided to close it's doors due to the fact that the store was competing with its other store on First Avenue. Then, ShopKo, which started out as a Hills and then a Venture, closed its doors. Faced with the loss of the two anchor stores, the rest of the complex, which one held a dollar discount store and a chinese restaurant, closed its doors as well. To top it off, Blockbuster, located in the parking lot of ShopKo, declared bankruptcy and closed its doors as well. Today, the entire complex sits dark and abandoned.
It seems very obvious to me that another mixed retail center like the ones in previous years will not work. Although the site is at a busy intersection, it is also in a tough place to navigate your vehicle to and it's on a dying street. Shoney's, Fazoli's, and the Spaghetti House were all on First Ave as well and all too have gone out of business. This clearly indicates that it's time to try something new.
Tearing down the entire complex would be expensive and wasteful. Most importantly, there really isn't any other building complex you could put on the site that would do any better. So what project could be done to revitalize the old buylow and maybe the entire complex?
Do you remember the game "Super Market Sweep?"
Supermarket Sweep was an American television game show. Part of the format was similar to other team-based quiz shows; the other part was a live-action race through a supermarket, a novel concept at the time. In the timed race, cameras followed the teams with shopping carts through a large vacated supermarket with several aisles; the value of items thrown into the cart determined the winning team. The original show was broadcast on ABC (December 1965-July 1967), with revivals airing on Lifetime (February 1990-May 1995, reran until August 1998) and later PAX (April 2000-May 2003, reran until March 2004).
ABC's Supermarket Sweep was broadcast from Food Fair supermarkets, mostly around New York City. For the Lifetime version, a mock supermarket was created at Hollywood Center Studios. It was modeled after a Hughes Market until September 1993, when it was remodeled again after a Unified Western Market. The PAX version was staged in the same set and studio as the Lifetime version. Beginning in September 2001, the show moved to NBC Studios.
The host for the 1965-1967 ABC version was Bill Malone. The announcers were Wally King from 1965-1966, and Richard Hayes from 1966-1967, with Johnny Olson and Gene Wood as frequent substitutes during those years. The host for the 1990-1995 Lifetime version and the 2000-2003 PAX version was David Ruprecht. The announcers were Johnny Gilbert from 1990-1995 and again from April-September 2000, then Randy West for the rest of the show's run.
I can't help but think that this would be a great project for Channels 7, 14, or 25 to take on. The old Buylow is not a megastore so it would be the right size to host the studio. Back in the early 2000's WFIE weatherman Jeff Lyons hosted a game called Backatcha which for the most part was a success. I believe that this game show would be a success from the very beginning because...
1. It would be something unique for the complex
2. It would entertain those in the audience
3. It would be very low cost. Rent would be affordable and food vendors would sponsor their own products in the show
If the idea really took off, the old ShopKo could host a "Shop Til You Drop" which use to come on after Supermarket Sweep, but that might be a stretch due to the fact that that building is quite significantly larger. However, a Supermarket Sweep in the old Buylow would bring vistors back to the complex which can only help the entire complex. That's why I believe that one of the local television stations should explore this project.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
In an effort to preserve historic Roberts Stadium, I have created the blog SaveRobertsStadium.blogspot.com. Please visit the site (If you haven't already) to find out what kind of various projects we can use Roberts Stadium for and what is the best location for the new ballfields.
Make no mistake, I am not against building little league ballfields here in Evansville. In fact, I think it's a good idea. However, I do not believe tearing down historic Roberts Stadium is the proper plan for Evansville.
I ask that you be vocal in your support for Roberts Stadium. Please contact your local legislators, Mayor Weinzapfel, and the Evansville Courier & Press (all contact info is on the site). I believe that with enough support, we can build quality ballfields next to Garvin Park and find a useful and productive purpose for Roberts Stadium going forward!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
If you've ever been to downtown Louisville, KY, chances are that you've been to Museum Row on Main Street. With the Louisville Slugger Museum, The Louisville Science Center, The Muhammad Ali Center, and six other museums, Louisville's Museum Row is a top notch tourist draw. ( http://www.museumrowonmain.com/ )
It seems very obvious to me that Evansville has a lot of history to create several museums but very little foot traffic downtown to make it worthwhile. With CMOE, The Evansville Museum, and The Reitz Home already downtown, a Museum Row would both compliment these venues as well as entice enough tourists to come visit downtown.
In previous posts, I've called for a Women's Baseball League Museum, a Negro League Museum, a Louisville Slugger Bat Factory Museum, and a Evansville Baseball Museum to set up shop in the Bosse Field & Garvin Park district. I've also called for a WWII museum to be built at the Port of Evansville. But what kind of museums would work downtown? I have come up with the following...
A HydroPlane Museum- Would commemorate the 30 + years of racing in Evansville as well as rejuvenate the movement to bring back hydroplane racing to Evansville.
A Roseanne Museum- Would commemorate the television show Roseanne that was produced by Evansville native Matt Williams. Tourists would start at the museum and then take a tour through out Evansville of spots featured in the show.
A Refrigerator Museum- Would commemorate the refrigerator's built here, the Refrigerator Bowl, and people who built the refrigerators.
There are several other museums that would make good candidates to form a Museum Row. So where would I build this Museum Row? Obviously, if the WWII museum is ever built or the Times Square Pavillion I have proposed ever comes to fruition, those would be the logical top candidates. But as of right now, they aren't built, thus making my prime location as 4th street next to the intersection with Walnut. In that area, there is already historic buildings and on one side of the road is an open parking lot where more museum buildings could be added. The street is also within walking distance of Main Street and the new downtown arena, making it the perfect place for a Museum Row!