2002: A Space Odyssey and Mission
This is a story within a story that leads to the biggest, most important issue of our time: transitioning to a sustainable economy and finding ways to adapt to changes in climate.
This story starts with a curious, apparently artistic expression:
Can you help solve a local mystery? Some artistic person(s) have hung big colorful pipes or bamboo that look like chimes in a few spots around town, like the ones at NW 16 Ave and 6th St shown here. A much larger array was hanging on the fence in front of the big, old, gray, now-empty building north of Gainesville High School –2002 NW 13th St to be exact – but the pipes hanging there disappeared recently.
Neighbors around 2002 NW 13th St have inquiring minds and want to know:
- Who has been hanging those pipes/bamboo?
- Why were pipes hung and at how many places?
- Where did the pipes at 2002 go?
Trish Riley, who is also the Director of Cinema Verde, the Annual International Environmental Film and Arts Festival held in Gainesville in February, who lives around the corner from 2002, said "We'd like to think they're charms of some sort, helping to found beautiful, creative spaces!"
She's not just kidding around. Another aspect of the 2002 property has rallied Trish and other neighbors of 2002 to be concerned about what happens with the property because, as they would say, it is literally IMBY ("in my backyard"). The neighbors don't want to become NIMBYs (NOT in my backyard) but the planned development for 2002 has a problem. It's a good news-bad news situation. Have you ever played that game?
The approved plan for the property is for a memory care unit and that's good because we need more memory care facilities. Reply: That's good!
No that's bad– The property sits atop Ashley Creek (photo below), a sensitive watershed of the Hogtown Creek. Reply: Oh, that's bad.
No, that's good – The development would put a retention pond in to filter storm water that is going into Ashley Creek and polluting it. Reply: Oh, that's good.
No, that's bad – The pond requires a large swath of forest to be removed that could filter storm water better than a pond. Reply: Oh that's bad.
Yes, that is bad, but there might be some good news – The developer had a similar development in Bradenton but all work stopped on that property and it is for sale, so maybe the developer's plans for the property here have changed and he would be willing to sell 2002.
Back to Trish. She has a big idea -- turn that building into a multi-purpose center to house organizations and spaces for fostering environmental education and sustainable businesses, a place that would also include a theater and that could host annual events like Cinema Verde and events throughout the year that promote our connection to nature such as or sunrise yoga sessions or rooftop viewing of sunsets or meteor showers while sipping wine and dining on gourmet foods from food trucks .
This big idea will take a village to make it happen -- to get the owner to sell, to get the building renovated, to get the money to do all that, to then create a vibrant center to support people and organizations who are working to solve – as noted above and repeated here with all seriousness – the biggest, most important issue of our time: Transitioning to a sustainable economy and finding ways to adapt to changes in climate, like using low-impact development to renovate buildings like 2002.
So, all hands on deck for a critical space mission at 2002! Peeps with resources, skills, and suggestions who think this is a great idea as well as a big idea are needed along with local businesses, investors, and city and county representatives. Trish (image at right) will be calling for meetings to try and jump start this effort. There was a meeting this past Sunday, and Helen Warren, Gainesville City Commissioner at Large,showed up (at right in image above). The next meeting is scheduled for this Friday, 5/26, from 4-6 pm at Lucky's.
Last but not least, on a personal note, on top of all the other good things that this project represents, I would LOVE to have a theater back on 13th St. Did you know at one time there WAS a theater on 13th St ... at 23rd Ave? It was replaced by the exercise place in Verde Plaza where Lucky's is located and it was called The Plaza Theater. I have lived between Verde Plaza and 2002 since 1991 and one of my cats, Puc, even became famous for always visiting the Plaza Theater. He was a regular and the theater staff enjoyed him so much, they would let him inside the ticket booth and he would sit on the ticket counter and watch the tickets shoot out of the slot and eager fingers grab them.
If we get a movie theater at 2002 and can save the small forest behind it, maybe we will see raccoons, armadillos, possums, hawks, and owls as well as neighborhood cats visiting the 2002 theater. That would be cool!