4/15/21, No. 103
Parthenon coming to The Landing: Acknowledging the need to do something irrational, the city council last night approved funds for purchasing the Parthenon from Greece.
“Sometimes you have to be impractical to be practical,” said Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci.
The funds will be used to disassemble the ancient ruin, ship it across the Atlantic, and reassemble it on the currently vacant downtown riverfront property known as The Landing.
After the vote last night, Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber was heard saying, “the last thing a tourist wants to see is something commonsensical. There won’t be any of that in our new tourist attraction.”
A group called Riverfront Parks Now had been asking for suggestions about what to do with the riverfront property. Ideas poured in by text to 904-539-3826. The proposals overwhelmingly favored doing something wildly impractical.
Councilman Rori Diamond embraced the need to be illogical. “In 1963, St. Louis began building the Gateway Arch. The Arch made no sense. For that city to do the same thing in today’s dollars would cost $94 million. It was a boondoggle of spectacular proportions.”
“The attractions that set cities apart,” Councilman Tommy Hazouri said, “are always outlandish, expensive, and unnecessary. That’s why people want to see them. La Sacrada Familia, the Transamerica Building, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the Space Needle, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Blue Mosque—not one of these was necessary, at least not on the scale they were built.”
“Take St. Peter’s Basilica,” Hazouri continued. “All the practical functions that take place there could be done in a warehouse. Who really needs the statues and marble. An empty Sears would do. A roof over their heads to stay dry and a place to sit—that’s all they’d really need. But who’d travel to see it?”
“Relocating the Parthenon to Jacksonville is lunacy,” Mayor Lenny Curry said. “Utter and sheer lunacy. And that’s why I support the project. People will come to our city just to witness the insanity for themselves.”
The only dissenting council voice came from Councilman Al Ferraro, who argued for a single-story strip mall to be built on the former Landing site. It would to be occupied by a nail salon, a bail bondsman, and a Denny’s. “Obviously I’m the only adult in this room,” he said, referring to the city council chamber.
Greek authorities have agreed to complete the transaction, though they are reluctant. About the pending sell off of the city’s most treasured asset, Athenians were seen weeping in the streets. The Mediterranean nation’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is understood to have conceded that “beggars can’t be choosers.”
Initially, the council inquired into purchasing the London Bridge, but discovered that Lake Havasu City, Arizona, beat them to it 52 years ago.