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The Need For a Capitol Infusion. . . .

August 31, 2009 - Joselyn King
Saving the former Capitol Music Hall -- now called the Capitol Theatre -- is a commendable undertaking, and on its own it could pay SOME dividends to the city of Wheeling.

But here's the reality check. It's going to take business springing up around it and taking advantage of the traffic for the downtown to truly prosper from it.

And subsequently, those businesses will have to show initiative and take advantage of Capitol traffic passing their doors.

My first trip to Wheeling was in August 1990, when some college friends and I came up for a living World Wrestling Federation television taping at what is now WesBanco Arena.

It was a packed show. Thousands of people in the downtown, and we had to park on the roof of the old parking garage. Because we knew it would take us some time to get out, we went looking for somewhere to eat and chill out after the event within wallking distance.

At 11 p.m. on Friday night, choices in the downtown were few to none. No businesses were open to take care of a large chunk of ravenous wrestling fans.

Years later, after I moved to Wheeling, I attended a Sawyer Brown Jamboree U.S.A. Christmas show at the Capitol. They did two sold out shows -- one at 7 p.m., and one at 10 p.m.

Across the street was the Elder-Beerman store. That night, the store -- as a chain -- was staying open until midnight to tempt holiday shoppers.

But not in downtown Wheeling. That store closed at 6 p.m. -- just as thousands of concert-goers and potential customers were piling past their door.

Where was a live Santa and piano music to entice them inside?

Prosperity and opportunity often knock outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Capitol can only provide so much of an economic impact. It's going to be up to other investors to "Capitolize" on it.


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