The past few years, I have watched with sadness as Colonial Williamsburg has homogenized the Merchants Square area, leading the downtown to become more and more Any Town USA. Interesting local boutiques are replaced by national chains, plus now a beer hall with arcade games. Too bad.
I am sympathetic to the financial issues of CW and so have remained quiet until now. But this Goodwin Plaza is over the top.
Has anyone even considered who is going to use this space for 12 months of the year? We are not Florida or even South Carolina. We have real winters with snow and very cold temperatures. We have real summers with scalding hot days. Exactly whom do we think is going to be splashing in that fountain from mid-October until May? Who is going to watch a giant screen movie while it’s raining or snowing? And special events? When they happen too often, they are no longer special. Meanwhile, the people who would have gone downtown to eat or shop will not be going because they can’t park anywhere near where they wish to go.
The planning people — both those proposing this plan and those considering implementing it — need to provide real usage figures. I would say the parking lot is used by hundreds of people every day, all year. Unless the planners can assure the community that there will be 365 days of usage, I can’t see the logic for proceeding with this plan. And by usage I mean actually partaking of what’s offered, not just passing through it to get from one place to another. People can do that now.
If this has been considered in realistic terms, not just pipe dreams like the Arts District, please explain. If not, then perhaps you might want to do that before it goes any further.
James City County