PHIL WIELAND: Getting Valpo's vision off to a flying start

2013-01-18T00:00:00Z PHIL WIELAND: Getting Valpo's vision off to a flying start nwitimes.com
January 18, 2013 12:00 am

It's no secret I'm a big fan of the future, in the sense that I hope we all have one. Keep those Mayans cranking out the calendars, please.

Valparaiso is big on the future, too, which is why the city is hiring a consultant to help map out a plan of what residents want the city to look like for decades to come. You know, during the mayoral terms of the next several generations of Jon Costas progeny.

I'm not a Valpo resident, but I feel like it's my second home. So, just in case the consultants forget to ask me, here are my suggestions for what the city should look like in the coming decades.

  • Flying cars. I was expecting everyone to be driving flying cars by the year 2000, but it didn't happen. I think the Mayans had something to do with that, too, or it might have been a Y2K foul-up. Valpo managed to start a transit system and build the area's first roundabouts, so maybe they can finally get this flying car thing going. Flying buses too.
  • Try this idea out: instead of the Courthouse Square, the Courthouse Roundabout. I think I've suggested this in the past, but apparently it was inadvertently omitted from the last big plan. A few parking spaces might be sacrificed, but that just means lawyers will have to use the parking garage. I'm not seeing a problem with that. Or they could put their flying cars on "hover."
  • "The Colossus of Orville." Reminiscent of the giant statue astride the entrance to the Greek port of Rhodes, the city needs a giant statue of Orville Redenbacher straddling U.S. 30 to welcome visitors. It should be big enough for people to actually travel up the inside to look out of his bow tie.
  • Maybe a whole "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" theme is possible, like decorating the exterior walls of City Hall with plants and calling it the Hanging Gardens of Babbling. I'm sure former Councilman Chuck Williams, who tried to name a street for Ronald Reagan, would support a spectacular monument to The Gipper. Something along the lines of the Great Pyramid of Geezer.
  • I like the suggestion David Blumenthal tweeted recently for the city to have a tower with a giant, lighted popcorn ball that would descend each New Year's Eve to signal the start of the new year. Ideally, it should be tall enough to be visible all over the downtown. It could capture that "Seven Wonders" theme by looking like the lighthouse at Alexandria.
  • Finally, a retractable dome over the downtown. It could be as big an attraction as the Roman Colosseum and would enable the city to hold events at Central Park Plaza all year in any weather. It also should have a parking garage for flying cars.

The opinions are those of the writer. He can be reached at phil.wieland@nwi.com or (219) 548-4352.

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