Saturday, September 3, 2011

Main Street U.S.A.

The heart and soul of any town is primarily represented by the main street that runs smack down the middle of it. I know this because it's really the central point in any town, the portion that people who drive through it will see most often. Therefore, it has great prospects to draw people in and explore all the more. It really is the cornerstone of any community.

I think it's very important. Although some cities don't agree with this notion, I would have to say they're wrong. It really is a representative or ambassador, so to speak, for the rest of the community. For example, if you have a really busy downtown, lined with businesses, you have strong economic impact. If you have an eclectic town, with different architecture, parks, libraries, and other unique venues, you have tourism potential. If there are very few cars on your main street, you know that your town is dying. If you don't have a main street, development needs to come in as a last resort.

There are a couple things that I think are essential or wanted on a main street. I especially love when there are murals on the sides of the buildings. It really brings life into any town and puts the history of the place out in front for the public to see and understand just how far they've come. Keeping nostalgic signs that were previously painted on the sides of brick buildings also does wonders. It's that own little Americana feel that every town needs. Flowers. Giant hanging baskets. Light posts. The ones that light up. A book store, which suggests the citizens' concern for the mind. And these are only a few things.

I do feel like the picture above is exactly what I'm aiming at in this post. That's what I think all small town main streets should look like. Quaint. People wanting to walk around and discover. With the Mom and Pop shops along with larger chain stores intertwined, representing not only the town but America in the best way. In the end, it should boost the tourism and economy as well as the population as people come to permanently visit. :)

The city planner in me has some ideas for how main streets should be. Maybe I need to take a lesson from Carol Kennicot, though, and take it one step at a time. The whole "Reform and now!" movement didn't work in Gopher Prairie, and I have a feeling it won't work anywhere else. Patience is a virtue.

'Til next time!

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