"Among mortals," the ancient Greek playwright Euripides told us, "second thoughts are wisest."
Thus, it is encouraging to see a couple of downtown Lexington projects — one completed years ago, the other not yet begun — subjected to a bit of rethinking.
A proposed redesign of Triangle Park, a part of the Lexington streetscape for 30 years, comes as welcome news. Over the years, as the Bradford pear trees dotting the park grew and spread their limbs wide enough for the leaves to form a canopy blocking a clear view of the sky above, the park took on a dark, uninviting appearance, calling to mind some foreboding forest in one of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Those trees, diseased and dying after all these years, have been removed now.
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And although the redesign proposed recently by the Triangle Foundation (which built the park and still contributes to its maintenance) calls for the introduction of some thornless Imperial honey locusts, the rest of the redesign suggests the new trees will not come to dominate the park the way the Bradford pears did.
Included in the redesign are a central lawn, an outdoor cafe, space for an ice skating rink in the winter and areas for other activities such as table tennis and croquet. It sounds like a refreshing makeover of a downtown institution.
And it could get even better if the Triangle Foundation's wish to close the section of Vine Street between the park and Lexington Center comes true.
However, closing this portion of Vine isn't enough to fully connect the park and the convention center. To make their synergy complete, a substantial section in the middle of the park's fountain wall next to Vine needs to be opened to foot traffic.
Plans for what has become known as the CentrePointe block also are being revisited. Developer Dudley Webb has hired internationally prominent architect Jeanne Gang to develop some new concepts for the block, and her comments suggest she doesn't see the block becoming home to the kind of monolithic structure originally proposed for the site.
While the block may still be developed to serve the mixed uses CentrePointe was to serve, Gang apparently sees it doing so with multiple buildings more in keeping with the scale of the surrounding area and perhaps more reminiscent of the numerous historic buildings torn down — amid much controversy — to make way for the project.
If Gang's work helps bring about the development of this block in a way that incorporates it into neighboring areas, as opposed to overpowering them with something resembling the product of an edifice complex, second thoughts will prove very wise indeed — and very welcome.