Name tag-style stickers helping to determine fate of downtown shop

Thursday, June 14, 2012 | 9:17 p.m. CDT
Stickers with the statement "I wish this was ______" are plastered on an empty storefront on Broadway. The stickers are part of a civic art project to gather community input on downtown development and the future of this vacant store.

COLUMBIA — Book store. Free health clinic. My house. Pie shop. Sweatpants/fanny pack store. Ethiopian restaurant. The Twilight Zone. Not apartments.

These are some of the answers on 57 stickers posted downtown that finish the statement "I wish this was ________."

The name tag-style stickers are stuck to the window of an empty shop at 916 E. Broadway. The shop used to be The Villager bridal and prom shop and has been vacant for more than a year, said Elly Bethune, who owns Elly's Couture next door. 

Forever 21. Ice rink. Late, all-night dancing. Hot yoga studio. Hogwarts. Batman.

The stickers went up about a month ago as a way to crowd source and figure out what people want the vacant space to be, said Carrie Gartner, executive director of The District.

The District decided to try the stickers after getting permission from the owners.

"It was fun to see what people came up with," Gartner said. "We used to do surveys to figure out what people wanted. This is a more fun way to do it." 

At first, there were 15 to 20 of them, but more were added, Bethune said. 

Arcade. Motorcycle shop. Donut shop. Good grocery store. Pottery Barn. Urban Outfitters. 

"I wish this was" is part of public art project started by Candy Chang in New Orleans. The stickers are vinyl and do not cause damage when they are removed. 

The project is described on its website as "a fun, low-barrier tool to provide civic input onsite, and the responses reflect the hopes, dreams and colorful imaginations of different neighborhoods."

The stickers are available for purchase in bulk online and cost $10 for 20 stickers, $20 for 50 stickers and $35 for 100 stickers. 

This civic art project is part of a larger project called Neighborland, which is designed to help people come together and have a hand in shaping their cities and neighborhoods. 

The "I wish this was" creators recognize that some grammarians might object to the use of "was" over "were." Chang addresses this on her website, providing links that back up her decision. 

Bethune said she has seen many people taking the time to read through them. 

All of the stickers are full right now, but Gartner said she might put more up. 

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey

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Ellis Smith June 15, 2012 | 2:06 p.m.

I vote for a new business: "Miss Sadie's House of Enhanced Pleasure."

We'll relocate this thriving enterprise from Waynesville, Missouri (and the Department of Defense may give us a bonus for doing that).

You see, WE KNOW HOW TO ENERGIZE WHAT YOU CALL "THE DISTRICT"! In the process we will most definitely enliven it.

All those committees and such dealing with development and blight? Forget them! After only one trip to Miss Sadie's you aren't going to care about blight anymore. :)

(Report Comment)
mike mentor June 15, 2012 | 2:52 p.m.

I say it should be a bank where they give me other peoples money!

(I just thought I would get in to the whole entitlement mode and see what came out...)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 15, 2012 | 4:41 p.m.

The way the economy is going, and the way it's going to go for a few more years (at least), I would suggest "Madam Bertha's House of Pain."

Might take your mind off things.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 15, 2012 | 5:18 p.m.

@ Michael Williams and Mike Mentor:

"Madam Bertha's House Of Pain" sounds like a reasonable substitute for "Miss Sadie's House of Enhanced Pleasure." Or we might go for broke and have BOTH.

Some businesses like Madam Bertha's feature "dominaters" of both sexes*. We should insist, as a condition of granting a business license, that no dominatrix is paid one nickel less than a male dominater. After all, they're worth it. :)

*-I refuse to divulge how I know that.

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 15, 2012 | 6:32 p.m.

Joy, Missourian - How can one rationalize the allowance of these gross, disgusting comments (written by some of your most gross, disgusting, commenters, imo), against my innocent referral to a can, containing rectal parts of Florida Keys fish which the seller claimed were nourishing and good to eat, was rejected??

Just kidding!!

Could the concern about new rules parallel the concern about fixing something that ain't broke?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 15, 2012 | 6:36 p.m.

written by some of your most gross, disgusting, commenters, imo)

Hey! I resemble that!

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 15, 2012 | 7:15 p.m.

"Hey! I resemble that!"

I said, I was kidding, be proud, Man!

(Report Comment)

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