Monday, May 12, 2008
A new project for Charlie Brennan?
When it comes to promoting the good things about St. Louis, KMOX's Charlie Brennan is a one-man PR machine. The historic red line downtown, books about St. Louis, and plaques like the one of Mr. and Mrs. Dred Scott in front of the Old Court House are just a few of things he's done to help tell the story of St. Louis.
We come to depend on people like Charlie Brennan to get the word out about this place. After all, we're not a very self-promoting sort of people. We tend to be humble, low-key, self-deprecating, and modest. And it's too bad really. There really are a lot of good things to tout about St. Louis. Like Forest Park.
The transformation of Forest Park is nothing short of amazing. It has gone from a tired, scary for some, expanse of green space - albeit dotted with interesting attractions - to a seamless place of beauty and serenity. At the heart of it all is the Grand Basin at the foot of Art Hill.
When you're standing there, in front of the Grand Basin, you're in the exact spot where the 1904 World's Fair took place. But would you ever know it? What about out of towners? Would they? They've possibly heard of the 1904 World's Fair (it's one of the few things we do talk about...). So they might know the Fair happened in Forest Park. But the park is so big, would they know where in the park the Fair was held? Probably not.
Is there a marker, perhaps a bronze relief with an image of the Fair, mounted atop a brick or stone pedestal, describing the Fair? Wouldn't something like that be a nice addition to the promenade that runs along the edge of the Grand Basin, from where you can look across the water, to Art Hill, and upward to the Art Museum?
"....Here in the summer of 1904, St. Louis staged the 1904 World's Fair. This Grand Basin and the Art Museum on top of Art Hill are the only remaining landmarks from the Fair. The Fair ran from April to December of 1904, and was the first place...." etc. For a town so proud of its World's Fair, I can't think of a historical marker in Forest Park memorializing it. Is there one?
If not, wouldn't that be an ideal project for Charlie Brennan? After all, isn't he our town's number one historical and civic ambassador? Maybe so, but the idea of electing Charlie Brennan to do the work is symptomatic of another St. Louis trait: We like other people to do things for us.
The blogosphere is a good place to see lots of people calling out other people to do things. But beyond the blogs, overall, it's part of how we are. We find problems. We cite them. Then we expect others to take responsibility. Maybe it's all part of human nature.
Volunteering others to do work is cheap talk. Ideas are free. Everyone has them. Accomplishing stuff takes time, resources, and commitment. That's where we are faced with choices.
Do you choose to make a difference? Where do you see the priorities for our time, resources and commitment?