Let the Natives Speak

mason-citySomeone said something to me today whom I would’ve never considered one who pays attention to the happenings in the downtown. She is quite elderly and a life-long resident of Mason City who has witnessed first hand the tearing down of many of the historic buildings that were here when she was young. I’ve known her for some time and never heard her speak ill of things that were changed in the downtown over the years except today. She said, “I wonder what’s going to happen with Southbridge Mall. You know, they never should have torn down all those beautiful old buildings to build that.” All I could say was, “Yes, there were mistakes made in the past, but hopefully our community will learn from them going forward.” I guess she was satisfied with my answer and changed the subject.

After today, I’m discovering more and more of those who’ve kept quiet about the happenings of our community, now becoming vocal. Another one said to me several weeks ago, “We can have all the ordinances in the world, but if we don’t have people with enough backbone to enforce them, they’re pointless.” He was speaking about some of the vagrancy taking place around the city. About a month ago a retiree living in the downtown area said, “Why is it that when I go walking the perimeter of the downtown, I see such dis-repair in homes where people are living?” My only reply was, “I’ve seen the same thing and don’t understand it as well.” I’m a great believer in the concept of starting at ground zero which is our Historic District and moving in an outward direction with great and good change. Sometimes it may not seem much, but as long as we continue to move in the direction of improving and preserving the district, the momentum will continue to build. It may sound elementary to some, but it does work. The more shoppers and sightseers we find spending time downtown, the more likely it will become habitual.

I was working nearly all day at the office in an attempt to get myself caught up with necessary correspondence as well as accounting. Since I have the “window to the world” in front, I oft times notice passerby’s walking down the sidewalk. Since we had a bit of sleet early this morning, there weren’t but a few until the afternoon sun melted it all off. Once 2:00 PM arrived, I noticed a number of people walking who appeared to be simply enjoying a stroll of the district. I always think it’s fun to see people pause a moment at my front window to look at the flowers that seem to really work at blooming nearly all year long. I’ve never seen a window that is so conducive in creating just the right amount of light for exceptionally good plant growth. People think I have a green thumb but I tell them it’s more the windows than me.

Getting back to the long time residents of Mason City. I do encourage those who’ve chosen to make Mason City their lifelong home to become more vocal in what they believe is best for their community as a whole. We all know too well that there are those living amongst us who consider Mason City simply a stepping stone to bigger and better jobs elsewhere. We must not turn deaf ears to those who’ve supported our city in both good times and bad. Let’s welcome the input and especially let the natives speak.