Readers Respond

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Letters to the Pilot

20th annual Save the Cobblestone committee

To the editor:

Yes, it is true, I am taking on the challenge of reopening the ballroom that hosted Louis Armstrong in 1964. Yes, I know that many other people have tried and thrown their arms up in frustration at not getting it done already. Yes, I know that talk has been circulating about this "project" for almost as long as the place has been shuttered-hence the name "20th Annual" ad hoc Save the Cobblestone Ballroom Committee.

And true to form, I use strong visual metaphors to evoke thoughts in readers in a sort of mental "shorthand" and today I am invoking the Keano Reeve character in "The Matrix"- Neo. You see, when Neo took on the empire and accepted the nameplate his line was: "We'll need guns - lots of em" and immediately he was given a veritable arsenal of weaponry at his disposal (visual only-since reality was seen only to be a visual game arena to support the plot twists and turns - rent the video). In other words, "we'll need money - lots of it - and power players - all over the county - to do this. And since I am taking on the challenge - all of you readers must immediately come forward and pony up whatever chips you might bring to the table.

And here are some rules I already announced at a Dinners for 6 Feast my sister Jan Alderton hosted at her house Sunday, July 16, which turned out to be 12 (people, that is) - produced by Lakeside Presbyterian Church, a good program that puts good people in touch with others:

Rule #1-Since so may people have already tried to get Cobb going again-we must not be frustrated by initial failures - we must judge this effort in addition by how much fun it is to try.

Rule #2-Every step of the process must be totally public and publicized-to help generate community enthusiasm, support and openness.

Boom - then I saw that great article Dana Larsen did in yesterday's paper about Louis Armstrong - good timing, I guess. Now, since I had to go and name the committee and all, I suppose I have some more rules:

Rule #3-Everybody else gets to remain anonymous if they want to...

Rule #4 - Anybody and everybody that has ever tried to get something done on this is welcome to join right in and take over if they want - we need every idea brought back on the table and previous "studies" and money ideas reevaluated and brought back in as "ammo" for this project.

Rule #5 - Bickering, squabbling, arguing and infighting is enthusiastically welcomed here. Nobody cares how it gets done or what we have to do to do it - just getting this place back on the map with whatever format or name or purpose is OK if it happens in some way. But please, let me report on the bickering so long as I don't name names...

Now, back to the visualization exercise for today. I see a horse trail going from "King's Pointe" all the way to Cobblestone and beyond. Now I see a horse trail going all the way to the Illinois Central Depot downtown-with train museum and upscale shops at each terminus. I also figure we need to ensure that the present owner gets to retain his full "development rights" for the acreage that does not necessarily involve the footprint of the Cobblestone and the parking lot we would need in front. That means I need horse people - lots of them. And zoning folks too - so somebody needs to get these people rounded up and corralled into the project pronto.

For my part - I've emailed Condi Rice about playing the pearlies for our first "fundraiser". I've asked some local talent to contact her as well. I've brought our Uncle Sam lake dredge supporters (Harkin and King) up to speed already. I'm trying to locate that kiddy train that used to navigate over by the monkey cage (no, I don't see us keeping mammals in small cages here - that is becoming too politically incorrect - but I could be wrong, eh?) I'll contact the Lakeside contingent if they don't get me first - they know some grant writers, I gather. I've got the Chamber of Commerce covered.

So in case anybody has any other ideas or people to volunteer for the project - please call me at 732-2620-complaints are welcomed too - and yes, we might as well start booking musical acts along the way...

- Paul Peterson, Storm Lake