A "Church" funeral

The fabled underground venue stages a last hurrah

Ambitious stuff, but the initial plan—which can be viewed at www.thenewwashingtonblvd.com—doesn't call for much beyond more trees, on-street parking, and better lighting. "At this point it's a vision," says Hanson, adding that citizens are encouraged to add their two cents' worth on the website.

Though Hanson says the tab will be paid by a public and private partnership, City Council member Gary Schiff, who has seen a similar transformation happen along Lake Street in his Ninth Ward, warns of hidden fees. "I don't know that property owners know that we'll assess them to make improvements like this," Schiff notes.

He suggests, too, that the unveiling of Washington Boulevard has less to do with, say, a new Vikings stadium, than with "the mayor wanting to leave a fingerprint on the town." If so, he suggests the legacy might be more like a smudge. "It's a beautiful plan," he says, "but ultimately it's a streetscape plan that calls for planting a lot of trees." G. R. Anderson Jr.

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