Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tempe Town Lake drainage and the culture of nothing

So, there’s been a little bit of discussion about the Tempe Town Lake dam breakage over at Mill Avenue Vexations. And it’s certainly something that affects Mill Ave, both community and culture. Especially those expensive condominiums that sold billed as “water front property” due to the construction of the fake lake. I still recall the days that the fake lake got added, filled in, and became the glistening stretch is now—er, or was until a few days ago.

The project struck a lot of us who live at street level as a poor grab at celebrity for a town that already has a grassroots fame for being a historic venue, and a recently gained fame for being a music and artistic venue next to a college. At least that’s the outcome of the 90s bohemian “revival” effect. Which seemed to do the economy a lot of good, brought in a lot of people—like me—and made the place a lot more livable. I can’t speak much for the culture of the place before the 90s (because that’s before I arrived) but stories seemed to reflect that it was pretty dull.

A proper history of will reflect that before the 90s the artistic revolution did not represent Mill Ave; but those that try to use this to say that an artistic history for Mill Ave is improper are deliberately ignoring the impact that having one had. Especially in the fact of the 2000s being an era where every interested party in Mill Ave went out of their way to stomp and kill off that culture…while claiming it as a foundation. The Tempe Town Lake certainly handles a legacy of this sort of behavior and with their latest snafu they haven’t gained a lot of credibility.

The Lake failed to deliver what it suggested it would. Except perhaps cheap celebrity. The condos and business buildings there cost way to much, people don’t visit Mill Ave to visit the lake. People certainly won’t, and for the most part cannot, move into the condos due to their egregious pricing, and the failure of the dam only tends to illuminate this misfortune.

Now as for the mystique of the lake. I think I’ll talk about that in a separate post. I have some ideas to play with.

Anyone have an experience with the Tempe Town Lake they’d like to share?

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