Pine For Their Return

Ouch!  The 25 degree temperature this morning was enough to make my fingers feel like icicles, but at least the sun was shining enough to warm the rest of our day.  I’m still in dis-belief how cold and wet this month has been.  I’m growing all the more concerned we’re going to have a beast of a winter while remaining in hopes it won’t be like our last.  Those April and May snowstorms we had were something never to be forgotten.  If you’re ever wondering if they’re man-made occurrences, let’s just blame it all on either the Chinese or Russians.

Speaking of China, someone mentioned today how much more expensive laundry soaps and paper products have risen in price.  I really had to hold my tongue and not say, “Well, this is our punishment for U.S. companies closing their factories here in the States, and building new ones in the Orient and south of our borders.  Whenever any company’s management and investors attempt to squeeze every nickel out of their bottom-line profits, we’re left to pay the price for the greedy mistakes made by corporations. Thirty years ago I knew we’d someday be paying the price, but as we all know, rampant greed is all-consuming with zero foresight.  So now the game of trade wars begin, and if in the end we have to pay all the more for goods, then maybe some of our big corporate “powers that be” will get back to the basics of making money the old-fashioned way, like earning it for once.

I re-listed 1707 S. Federal today which used to be “Patrick’s Sport’s Bar and Grill”.  It’s now priced at $185K and I’m going to remain in hopes there’ll be an entrepreneur in our midst who’ll want to open an eatery adjacent to one of our City’s main arteries.  It’s pretty much a blank canvas to where you could offer anything from a drive-thru, to the more “exotic” restaurant offerings.  How about a real Tuscan Restaurant or even Indian cuisine which is growing all the more in popular these days.  I do think we have enough Mexican and Oriental restaurants here in the City, so perhaps it’s time to look at the bigger picture.  One could even offer meats and vegetables that all locally grown and prepared in homestyle fashions. If anyone thinks all our market niches have been taken, they’re terribly wrong.  Let’s just maintain the mindset of “The Field of Dreams” where if we build it, they will come.

Just these past few years, I’ve been hearing all the more people wanting to live in the Downtown, and especially on the second floor of existing buildings.  Just a week ago, someone said to me, “My dream has always been to own one of the small historic buildings in our Downtown where I could live upstairs and have my own shop below.  I smiled and said, “Many of America’s second floor commercial buildings were used as the residences for those business owners back when they were built.”  There’s one particular building here in our City that was a millinery for many years, and it so happened the proprietress raised her family in the apartment above.  If my memory serves me, I believe she and her husband owned it for over 40 years.  With that said, we must continue remembering that history repeats itself more often that we want to realize, even in spite of our way of life being so much more different than it was back in the 1880’s.  Our times may have changed, but many core preferences haven’t.  I would personally find living in a 2nd story flat delightful, simply because of the abundance of light filtering in, and the ever-changing street views and sounds below. In the end, it’s all about dynamics where if it feels good, then do it, but if it doesn’t, then just walk away.

I may sound a bit radical in my thinking when saying, “We should scrape Southbridge Mall off our map and build mixed-use storefronts where there’d be owner occupied condos upstairs, and business condos on their main floors.”  I know they’ve been trying to get a similar project off the ground in Charles City, but their location is on a very busy street while offering very little parking.  The mixed-use I’m thinking of would have plenty of parking and NO busy streets because pedestrian shopping doesn’t go well with a great deal of vehicle traffic.  You gotta remember, older people don’t like dodging speedsters when crossing streets.

The photo above is yet another postcard I purchased which shows our once exceptionally beautiful Cerro Gordo County Courthouse.  Whomever gave the nod to tear that beauty down should’ve been taken out at the time and horse whipped.  Since I’m not old enough to remember it while still standing just west of our City Hall, yet even now, whenever seeing a photo of it, l border on goosebumps.  And to think, our courthouse along with a number of our other beautiful stone structures fell to those vile wrecking balls of progress, and yet we continue to pine for their return.  I do remember Central School which stood east of the Downtown office of Clear Lake Bank and Trust, and when I personally witnessed the destruction of that historic limestone building, I distinctly remember saying to one of my family members, “You just wait. There’ll come a day when this City is going to be very sorry for allowing it to be torn down.”  And oh how I hate saying, “I told you so!”

Tonight’s one-liner is:  Death comes to us all, but great achievers build monuments that are meant to endure until our sun grows cold.

Related Property:
1707 S Federal Ave. Mason City
Joe Chodur

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