Wednesday, October 9, 2013

All squared away

I always thought the Square in Lexington to be one of the city's most attractive and distinctive attributes.

There is, of course, the Old Court House that dominates the visual landscape. Its Greek Revival style of architecture (1858) predates the Civil War by several years (1861-65) and is certainly an historic landmark not only within the city limits, but within Davidson County as well.

There is also the statue of the Confederate soldier in the southwest quadrant, and across Center Street, in the two opposing quadrants, there are historical markers and memorials surrounded by tasteful landscaping. The southeast quadrant, in fact, boasts a terrific flagpole that catches my eye just about every day.

There's a lot going on in the Square right now.

Now you see the Old Court House... you don't. At least, for now.
The Old Court House is currently enveloped by a shroud that makes it look like it's part of a David Copperfield illusion. The building is currently undergoing a $600,000 external repair and restoration project. I imagine the shroud is in place to contain any paint, dirt and debris from falling onto pedestrians and vehicles as they pass by. When the project is completed and the shroud is finally removed, I suspect it will be something like opening a Christmas present. I can't wait.

While the Old Court House was going under wraps, the North Carolina Department of Transportation decided it would install (stamped) brick crosswalks at the Square. The project was aided, in part, by local contractors and, well, it looks pretty good to my eye. To my mind, anything that adds to Lexington's visuals is potential for bringing more visitors — and more consumer dollars — into town.

But, as you might guess, there has been some opposition to both projects. Some opponents have suggested the money used to restore the Old Court House could be better used elsewhere, and particularly to care for the homeless. I will argue that preserving heritage and culture are just as important as providing for the less fortunate (usually a task reserved for the church and/or nonprofit charitable organizations rather than tax payers) and probably, in the long run, less costly with more bang for the buck.

Don't trip over the crosswalk when the light turns green...
 As for the crosswalk, one opponent, in a  letter to the editor to The Dispatch, basically wondered if NCDOT would be held liable if somebody tripped over the perfectly flat crosswalk. I'm guessing that the odds of being hit by a foul ball at Holt-Moffitt Field during football season are greater than tripping over a stamped crosswalk, but I suppose you never really know.

In the meantime, keep the progress coming. It's looking pretty good.

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