What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?
My Little Town is nothing like the one Simon and Garfunkel sang about in 1975. It’s pretty nice, and over the past 20 years, there has been a continuous organized effort to continually refurbish it: lay new brick sidewalks, put in attractive standing street lights, keep a line of trees along the main road through town, upgrade the historical spots, build a small park where something was torn down, and encourage the use of bicycles in and through town, which is serviced by a bicycle path which extends for about 90 miles out into the countryside. On one busy side street the (which I think they’ve been able to label an historic district), new buildings are only in brick to match the new sidewalks and older brick buildings.
As with all suburban centers, before town planning took hold, a lot of really ugly structures were built. Lots of them are still there, and I imagine only time will see their replacements. Meanwhile, strip shopping centers large and small have spruced up, and present a much nicer face to the public.
The town has a lot of activities for residents, and numerous parks for children and parents. The community center is always busy, with a myriad of activities for all. In the summer they hold open air family concerts in at least one of the larger parks. The park right in town is home the the very active youth softball league, and in the summer crowds are always there cheering on teams, or just watching as they pass by.
We have all the stores and restaurants we need, and more, and new less staid establishments are opening frequently. A lovely church dominates the center of town, and it feels like some of the development must have started there and branched out. In truth, though, the old, long-closed railway station is just a block away from the church and that was probably the locus for development spanning out. Now it is still a train station, home to an organization of model train enthusiasts. A well-maintained caboose sits outside the station, a memento of a long gone era a hundred or more years ago, when the town was a get-away spot from people in the big city.
As with all towns in outside an urban area (commuter belt), the main problem is traffic, and there’s no solution for that. To make it worse for traffic, but probably better for residential neighborhoods, signs prohibit turning down them during posted hours. That means even more traffic is consigned to the main routes. So even with the thorough knowledge of shortcuts that I have after years of living here, it is a challenge to plot a route that avoids the signed streets. It’s a bit like trying to figure out a maze.
As far as towns go, I think ours realizes that it has a special character and a uniqueness in the suburban landscape and is taking measured steps to retain its identity and lead it down a road of controlled growth. For that I am grateful.
As mayor, I would consider encouraging a better perception of the town’s police force. In the nearly three decades I have lived here, I have had three traffic violations, all in the Town. One for speeding (over 25), one for turning during posted time period, and third, not waiting 3 seconds at a stop sign before proceeding (at an intersection with total visibility). A frequent sight along one of the main streets where the speed limit is 25 are cops with radar guns. Near intersections where turning is disallowed during certain periods, they wait in homes’ driveways. People who have lived here long enough to suffer as I did in years past, know you don’t exceed the speed limit, or break driving regulations in any way — they will get you. The sad thing about this is that I suspect their main function is to gain revenue for the town, and that just doesn’t seem right. One should feel respect for the police, but I just see them as ticket writers and revenue collectors. I agree that laws should be adhered to, but there’s also justice. My 3 second stop citation was unreasonable; a warning might have been in order, but in no way was I endangering anyone by my actions. The police department should be respected, and in our town, it is not.