Downtown Mall kiosk up for bid

You may have not noticed the old kiosk on the Downtown Mall today...thats because it vanished sometime yesterday!

According to Neighborhood Development Chief Jim Tolbert, the kiosk was hauled away by the public works department and placed in the city yard, where it will await its fate. In a story on the kiosk last month, Tolbert told the Hook that the kiosk was going to be "scrapped," then added, "But if someone wanted it, if they'd be willing to haul it away, they could take it."

After the story ran, the Hook received at least a half dozen calls from people wanting the kiosk and asking for Tolbert's number, and Tolbert says he fielded at least a dozen calls on his own. Given the kiosk's value and history (see the Hook's story for that), it appears the city has changed its mind about scrapping it or giving it away. According to Tolbert, the kiosk is now going to be put out to bid. And he's advising anyone interested in it to check the city website for an upcoming announcement about the details.

"I just wanted it for my backyard," says downtown resident Pete Rainey, one of those who contacted the Hook. "I thought it would look kind of cool back there."

26 comments

Didn't Reid Nagle donate the kiosk to the City?

My lord, these people in the city govt. are wishy washy. Can't seem to make up their minds.
I'm surprised they don't put the ugly piece on the side of the road as ART IN PLACE.

Art in Place. That is funny :)

If they put it up on eBay I hope they mention the clock is right twice a day. Buyer beware.

I don't know why they didn't leave it on the mall, convert it into a little office to house the video camera monitors, and assign an officer to sit in it and watch the cameras?

Sick, I think this is an awesome idea! What a way to find out who the thugs "really are"...
The public is tired of being afraid in the downtown area.

Jolted, feel free to pass the suggestion on to the police chief if you like. I guess he's still working on getting the cameras installed around the mall sometime soon.

He and I aren't exactly on speaking terms right now. :)

I could have sworn that eventually $75,000 was spent on that thing. Is it green to throw away copper, or cedar for that matter? It's funny how the city's first reaction is to throw it away.

sick, Yep, i will share my view. Cameras are a great idea.
They will really round em up when they film the truth. The mall is full of too many crapos. We're sick of tripping over thugs and running home before dark to avoid muggings.

Whenever my daughter is on the mall with her friends for whatever reason, I hang around pretty close. I will ditch my vehicle right in the middle of the crossovers if I need to go help them quickly. Damn shame people have to live in fear just blocks from the police department. It's going to be interesting to see how much crime this summer has in store for the mall visitors.

Cville, yes they are a throw away society.
Just like they are throwing away McIntire Park.. Paul Goodlowe McIntire would turn over in his grave, if he realized what today's city politicians have done or plan to do, with his gift of land to the city.

Sick, I also fear for this summer unless these thugs are rounded up. My God, too many of these criminals don't have a conscience. They would kill you for bubblegum. They have been enabled by "the system". Everyone feels sorry for them! They feel entitld. See where that philosophy has gotten us in Charlottesville! MORE MURDERS than I can remember..And the criminals just smile into the camera.

I don't know why Tolbert made this abrupt decision to take away our kiosk. I think it ought to be a communications station for the people - it would put out a constant wireless signal for laptop users, but it would also have a couple of computer terminals and monitors for those who need to get online but don't have a computer. It would also have large monitors that function as bulletin boards, the public could submit advertisements for events happening around town.

I worked in that kiosk for a summer. Something like 12 years ago, after the original news stand failed, the Downtown Foundation somehow got possession of it. I worked for the Downtown Foundation for much of that year, helping to set up for Fridays After 5, do security, etc. Among my duties was manning the kiosk as an information booth for something like 4 or 5 hours a day.

Let me tell you: that kiosk is good for absolutely nothing, business-wise, except maybe as a bar. The whole design makes it useless. The shelves for magazines or other products are around the outside, meaning that when you are sitting inside of it, anyone can just walk right up and pretend to be looking at something while they steal anything they want. And you, the employee in the kiosk, will have no idea because you can't see down there.

The thing is impossible to properly secure. Maybe it's been altered since back then, but the way you closed it up was by lifting these wooden panels into place and just sort of leaving them there. It couldn't really be secured. In fact, at the time there was nothing preventing anyone from just pushing a panel out and getting inside. I remember I bought some metal latches which I installed to have at least some way of keeping them in place. Even with those latches, anyone determined could have knocked it open easily enough.

There's really no room to store anything inside. No, you could not set that thing up as some kind of internet terminal with multiple screens. It was built to sell magazines out of. It was not built to the level of building code that would be required to legally have wired like that. Even an island counter top in your kitchen must be framed to residential specs similar to that of an actual wall (rather than built like a regular cabinet) in order to legally have outlets installed in it. You'd better believe that an outdoor kiosk where rain and weather is an issue will be looked at very closely by any building inspector before he signs off on running a couple of new 20 amp circuits through it. It won't work.

The kiosk is a folly in the purest sense. A building that is good for nothing. Nevertheless, I want it. I sat in that thing for MONTHS as a teenager telling tourists how to get to Monticello. I lovingly polished the copper counters and did all kinds of maintenance on it out of my own pocket. Now I'm an adult, with plenty of land and maybe just enough money to haul the thing home. I've earned the right to buy it as much as anyone has.

What would I do with it? I dunno. Mostly I want it as a matter of nostalgia for my well-spent youth as a downtown mall rat. Probably I'd set it up as an outdoor bar to use for parties. That's really the only thing it's good for.

Sick of the Local Rambos,

No, that security use idea won't work either. Again, it's not built to the kind of standards that code requires in order to have that much wiring in it for running a whole bank of TV screens. It's also freezing in the winter and it will bake you in the summer. There's no insulation. There are no WALLS. Just thin, removable panels. You cannot turn that thing into a useful office, period.

I fail to see why it would be better to have someone sitting in that kiosk staring at screens as opposed to sitting in a proper office at the Police Station a few blocks away doing the same thing.

Maybe if an officer needs to be disciplined, they could be given kiosk camera monitoring duty for a week in December. Like getting sent to a base in Siberia for misbehavior in the Russian army. Isolated, freezing and utterly bored.

There is no viable municipal use for this building. Period. It's a very pretty way of holding up an inaccurate clock that I believe has been broken for at least 10 years.

Seems like Jackson Landers should have it, especially after all of the hot summers and cold winters spent polishing the thing.

quote: "it's not built to the kind of standards that code requires in order to have that much wiring in it for running a whole bank of TV screens."

Perhaps a $300,000 study by some private consulting firm is needed before we can actually determine this to be the case? :)

quote: "Maybe if an officer needs to be disciplined, they could be given kiosk camera monitoring duty for a week in December. Like getting sent to a base in Siberia for misbehavior in the Russian army. Isolated, freezing and utterly bored."

Good idea! But why just a week? Why not make it a year? It would then be at least a full year the disciplined officer can't get the city tied up in any more lawsuits for wrongdoing! Based on recent history, it sure make the city crosswalks much safer too!

Many of us in the county view Charlottesville's Government and wonder, what will they do next.

Free Yellow Bicyles,traffic calming buttresses they make bus's and fire engines go up over the curbs to turn, expensive Kiosk's that are good for nothing.

It will be interesting to see what the new city tax rate will cover.

A View from the Country,

The city did not pay to build that kiosk. A partnership that Lee Danielson formed many years ago had it built as a news stand [I vividly recall Danielson being a complete ass about the craftsmen taking a week longer than expected to finish it. Danielson said a lot of assinine things in front of reporters back then]. When that failed, it was either sold or given to the Downtown Foundation. I forget which. At some point the Downtown Foundation passed it off to the city. I don't know this for a fact but I'm going to guess that lacking an actual use for it, it was donated to the city in order to avoid dealing with liability exposures associated with a useless asset.

The yellow bicycles were paid for by a private donor. All that the city did was put in the yellow racks for them, which cost about $500. A pretty modest price for the experiment.

The traffic calming thing works. Yeah, it's annoying. But it makes me drive slower, which is the whole point. I don't think that a firetruck has any difficulty going up over a curb like that. They have more than enough clearance and the truck has to slow down rather a lot to make a turn at a right angle anyway.

There's plenty of bona fide stuff to be annoyed with city government over. But those 3 things are not among them.

FYI

Anyone wanting to know a little more about the kiosk can click on the link in my post:
http://www.readthehook.com/stories/2008/03/20/ONARCH-0712-B.aspx

Dave

"... traffic calming buttresses ... "

One of the most recent is at the intersection of Belleview Avenue and Coleman Street.

It is downright dangerous! Any large or long vehicle going up or down the hill has to take up the entire travel portion of the roadway now. Just a matter of time before one of the worst head on collisons in the history of Charlottesville takes place there.

I have pictures of this intersection taken 4 or 5 years ago. I therefore now have "before" and "after" pictures of this intersection, and I will make them available to the family of any person seriously injured or killed in this intersection.

There's no damn exucse for what's being done to our local streets now. If there's a speeding problem on the street, the police need to work radar. I have traveled this neighborhood for 38 years, and I have never seen radar being used on the street once in this 38 years. Not once!

quote: "The traffic calming thing works. Yeah, it's annoying. But it makes me drive slower, which is the whole point."

Do you have any idea how many senior citizens have spent large sums of money to replace expensive tires, expensive wheels, and expensive suspension parts on their automobiles since all of these traffic calming measures have been implemented around the city?

Sick of the Local Rambos: You sound very angry. I don't think you like it here in Charlottesville very much. I live downtown (as happenstance would have it, so do most of my neighbors), and we actually don't live in fear at all. I feel bad for you that you do. We and our kids have a grand time walking all over the place and enjoying this place. Park Street is walkable again now that traffic is a bit slower on it. Regarding you most recent question about the outlays of cash by elderly driver to replace car parts they've damaged by crashing into things: I actually don't know. Can you tell us please?

Sean, as you said, it was a question. Not a statement. I do not know a total of the damages all of this newfangled traffic calming has caused. But I do know one elderly gentleman who had to spend over $2,500 to replace his front tire and wheel, and to repair his suspension after being forced into a new traffic calming curb near Evergreen Avenue. The problem on Park Street right now is way too many cars riding over the yellow center line when entering and exiting the new traffic calming curbs. The same problem that caused this elderly gentleman to either hit another car or take the curb head on.

Once again people are mistaken about my intent. I was not complaining about my own personal driving experiences. I love the new traffic calming meausres on Park Street. It's a legally sanctioned slalom course even at 25 mph. (I can't say the same for the mess they just created at Coleman and Belleview though!) My concern was for the senior citizens that I have personally witnessed having trouble manuervering through the new traffic calming measures.

Another trouble spot, even though it's not an intentional traffic calming curb, is where you go down East High Street about one block past Martha Jefferson Hospital on the right. One section of the sidewalk sticks out a couple of feet more than the other portion. I have seen people hit it on a weekly basis. Especially after dark and in the rain.

Ladies and Gentleman,

A little "don't highjack the post" warning here...now how about that kiosk? :)

Dave McNair

quote: "I live downtown (as happenstance would have it, so do most of my neighbors), and we actually don't live in fear at all. I feel bad for you that you do."

Wasn't it Park Street not long ago where an elderly couple was attacked and robbed in their own home?

Anyhow, nowhere in this thread have I said I live in fear. Hopefully, I will never have to shoot anyboy. But I have had almost 30 years experience (and training) in the safe handling and use of firearms. I travel nowhere without firearms close at hand or on my person. I would urge every citizen in Charlottesville to seek training and lawfully arm themselves. This is the year 2008, not 1963 when you could leave your cars and homes unlocked all night.

My child and her friends live in fear now. Not long ago some idiot tried to break into the bedroom of one of their school mates by leaning a ladder up against the kid's upstairs window. And if you have followed the news for the last 24 hours, there's now a 12 year old child missing. Nobody has a clue what happened to this young girl.

"A little ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??don't highjack the post¢Ã¢â??¬ warning here¢Ã¢â??¬Šnow how about that kiosk?" :)

OK. We'll tie it in right here.... Perhaps the kiosk could be set up on Locust Avenue as a traffic calming measure?