Yesterday, with a delicious French Roast in hand, I decided to take a walk along my hometown’s Main Street. As I sipped and strolled, I was hit with the realization that 2019 is bringing an evolution of sought to my hometown. Store after store hosted postings honoring patrons for their business. One of my favorite boutiques shared, “After 28 years, it’s time for us to close our doors. Thanks to all our friends for their loyal support.” While the best Irish bakery in town (in my opinion), displayed a sign, “Thank you to all of our friends near and far for 40 years of continued support.” I thought, where am I going to order that luscious layer cake covered with hard, dark chocolate icing and decorated with fresh, edible flowers for all of my family special occasions?
As I journeyed on, Bruce Springsteen’s song, My Hometown, began to play in my head. “Now Mainstreet’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores.…,” the rest of the song is not very relevant to the re-emergence of my hometown, but the vacant stores image is. The Village has always been the bright, bustling, yet quaint suburban hub of the community. As time passes and the old guard passes away, a new and vibrant resilience is beginning to take shape throughout town. Sleek shops are replacing boutiques and modern staged eateries are replacing pubish haunts and mom and pop establishments that offer good ole comfort food.
The biggest impact, however, is on zoning. One story landmark storefronts are being converted or demolished to make room for four-story luxury apartment units over storefronts. Over the last few days I have received e-mail messages from town officials asking for support in stopping a local developer who plans to demolish 4 additional stores and 1 restaurant in order to construct a four-story, 84 unit luxury apartment building with ground floor parking below. I responded with my support. But then I began to think, sure another large luxury complex would present challenges such as, more urban type living in a suburban setting, not enough parking, the need for adequate utilities; not to mention the problem with whether induced flooding that the town already manages with limited success. But, and here is where I would like to hear from others, is it really in the best interest of a community to stop progress in order to savor an old way of life? I wonder how merchants feel about the impediment of growth? I think about the Industrial Revolution and how people leaving the farm caused the growth of cities; and now as society turns back to farming (I love the farm to table movement and farm co-ops) how farming has been improved due to new technologies. Everything has a season. Is it our job to stop the cycle of the seasons?
As I perk on what my town is facing and on the stance I eventually will take, I am beginning to think perhaps the best outcome would be for local government representatives to meet and work with development companies to review plans that offer the best and brightest civic outcomes rather than butt heads. As the old adage goes, you can’t stop progress.
Let the journey begin!
Peace and Love,