Bravo, Dan Rodricks, for your column supporting Little Italy ("Little Italy, keep your eye on the meatball," Aug. 25). Loved the meatball as a metaphor for hope.

The column poses many interesting questions for the area. What will make Little Italy economically viable into the future as a place for urban dwellers and tourists alike? Is it enough that it offers proximity to area hotels, regional transportation, and downtown workplaces?

Can it be an appealing residential area with more services for urban dwellers?

Could it be a vibrant commercial area? Maybe with an Italian-American museum, Italian grocery store, Italian leather, linens and ceramics, a child and adult learning center, the parish church, a book/movie/music store, a chocolates and coffee shop and restaurants with modern and traditional fare. More bed and breakfasts. Outdoor movies and outdoor opera. Maybe a shuttle.

Will these things bring people to the area? What kind of money, infrastructure, planning, and cooperation will it take to bring it all together?

Thanks again, Mr. Rodricks, for the positive spin on the lowly meatball. Maybe fresh ingredients will revive an old recipe.

Gabriella DiGianni