Marietta needs to promote new ideas

One of the main groups that is able promote our economic growth and create a positive change in this town meets at the armory on the first and third Thursdays of every month. This is when our city council meets. They are truly the gate keepers of our town and they can have the greatest immediate positive impact on our development and future.

In recent years it seems as if they have become the “Abominable No Men” (and women). It’s as if any idea to help us grow or beautify our town is immediately met with a hundred excuses as to why we can’t do this or do that. It seems that when you become a city council member you are required to sign a secret pact that states “I will do everything in my power to not allow our town to grow any larger than the original 48 people that landed with Rufus Putnam in 1787.” Oh Lord forbid we do anything to promote something neat and attractive and cool.

One of the biggest mistakes lately was to not allow John Lehman to install a beautiful piece of art, that he was paying for out of his pocket, on the city right of way. Who cares if it had a guitar or cigar or salad bar in it. We don’t need the negative poo poo and excuses any longer, it’s killing our town. They have become like Lenny in Mice and Men … he just loved his little puppy so much that he killed it.

Just google “private art in public right of way” and several examples show up of cities that are doing it, how they are promoting it and how great it is. Portland Oregon is the best example. They really encourage private art in public right of ways and everywhere else in their towns. What if Andy Goldsworthy or Cornelia Konrads or another famous sculptors built or painted something here? Better yet encourage every local artist to create here. Look at the beautiful work Geoff Schenkel has created around town.

We need art! We need sculptures! We need more murals! Art on buildings, around sidewalks and hanging from the trees. Artists’ lives matter and so does their art! Bring us your tired, your artsy your creative masses yearning to beautify and spread your love. Come and unleash your gifts.

Another small thing but really helps to set us apart is allowing our merchants to have creative signs overhanging the sidewalk (8′ above ground) and little tables on the sidewalks. For a great example of this you need go no farther than the Short North in Columbus. They have art, cool signs for the shops and awesome arched lights over High Street like we used to. We can easily do this and it will be awesome!

One of the newest council members called me recently and she told me “that we will not be bullied and we will not let any business promote themselves more than another”! Unbelievable! This is exactly what I am talking about. We need them to encourage and promote every new positive idea that will make us more attractive and help business grow. Some council members do support this stuff but the final vote is usually no.

One of the best things would be for tourists to come visit us and look at the art in our town then tell the rest of the world about how creative and forward thinking we are. Imagine thousands of people coming to our town and spending their money with our businesses. Thereby helping those businesses grow and hire more people and pay more taxes and grow and hire more people. … It’s all tied together and art is an easy and great way to start growth.

The days of factories employing 1,500 people making safe cabinets are gone and the future of micro business is here. The cafes, the techies, the print shops, bike shops, restaurants, cook shops, breweries and hip home furnishing stores are what we need. The people starting those businesses want to live and work in “artsy/cool” places. We have heard enough about what we can’t do.

Dear Council, we need you to be more visionary, to think outside the box and see the opportunities that abound around us. Stop holding us back and allow us to be more artsy and grow our businesses!

Bryan Waller