Opinion ~ WSHM fence barrier to a more vibrant downtown

In the ongoing saga of the WSHM donor wall the results now seems clear and unavoidable. Since the stop work order was lifted the time has come to put back the fence. No gate, no gap or passage for pedestrians just a barrier to help divert folks past the museum gift shop and front doors. Anyone would tell you that physical coercion doesn't bring in customers you want but frustrates anyone more sensitive than a rock into becoming immediately opposed to such underhanded tactics and to those who perpetrate them. Case in point: Ikea. Does anyone like being herded through the store on a predetermined path? Not in this country.

With solid exhibits and signage no opening in that fence will dissuade any interested wanderer from happening by the History Museum. It will, in fact, help move people freely to and from downtown and the Foss waterway. Most residents and downtown business people would gladly have other options for moving around none of which will impact museum attendance because they won't often just "happen" by anyway. As for visitors and tourists, they'll likely have a goal to visit the museum as most people have plans when they go on trips. For that other (I'm wagering minuscule) group of care free, split-second decision maker visitors, as I mentioned before, some signage near a fence opening and maybe even a more noticeable sign at the WSHM entrance itself will help spark their interest.

The bottom line is, no downtown Tacoma business or attraction is a silo. For true success to be reached, everyone needs to work together to breed energy and reasons for anyone to come and stay downtown. No one who plans to visit one place then wander to find anything else interesting should come upon a huge and empty plaza, a row of downtrodden old store fronts, or a fence blocking what looks like an interesting area. Everyone needs to put their egos in check and step out from behind their own self-imposed fences so we can get on with the business of building a great downtown.

posted May 10, 2007 under donor wall, iron fence, tacoma, wshm  


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