Walk or ride to the center of our town at the intersection of Broadway and Providence Road. Stop, look and reflect on this spot that I call Columbia's Living Room. What do you see? Are you inspired?
While we may not have something as inspiring as the St. Louis Arch or the Plaza in Kansas City, we could have something that inspires rather than encourages you to move through the intersection to a more aesthetic edifice such as our stately parking garage.
Dream with me. I have a vision of this intersection becoming a mall or commons, which invites all to linger, converse, network and share community events. This space could still accommodate high traffic flow when needed and still serve a community purpose. I envision benches and other sitting places on this plaza-type space.
Not intrusive but functional traffic lights and other streetlights would enhance rather than detract from the ambiance. I believe we need an effort to attract and welcome all to and within our fair city. Surely there are visionaries with the planning, financial resources and architectural skills to address this blight enhancement. We could accomplish this with support from our political bodies and other appropriate entities. We could begin this process with a visionary architectural rendering of this space.
I believe this space ought to reflect an inspirational motto or slogan such as “Columbia — a city that cares.” I think this would lift us into a class above what you now see at this intersection. I believe this is the direction we should be moving toward in the center of our town.
William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and a professor emeritus at MU. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.