But also in 1975, Tom Rogers, chairman of the Core Area Revitalization Committee, resigns when he learns the city also intends to push for a new shopping center north of Crossroads. "All our meetings, all our correspondence, all our news releases have addressed themselves to endeavoring to locate major retailers in the downtown sector," he says in his letter of resignation. "That was the first priority of this committee from its inception."
On June 12, Pearl Street is closed. Councilman Paul Danish gets up at five in the morning and meets up with two friends. They decorate a Volkswagen bus and drive it down Pearl Street, then get out and open a bottle of champagne. This is the last car to drive those four blocks. John Matlack has had a studio on Pearl Street since 1974; "John Matlack: Minor Regional Artist," reads the sign on the door. "When the city pulled up the sidewalks," he recalls, "there was a rainstorm and it stank of horse piss. Eighty-year-old horse piss. From before it was ever paved." Richard Foy hires David Sosalla to create large stone and bronze creatures for the mall -- a beaver, frog, snail and hare. The cost is $16,085.38 -- $7,500 of that for Sosalla's labor. Foy says he did not hold an open selection process because we "didn't want a monumental artistic statement...We wanted something that the average person could relate to."
By December, ice and vandals have closed the restroom. Even so, the mall is deemed a great success. Between 4,000 and 6,000 people walk on it daily, and businesses report a 40 percent increase in sales taxes.
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