“The Most Beautiful ‘Main Street’ in the Entire World”

A Pollyanna image for ‘MAIN STREET’ in the New Year

This blog post and others I am writing will make more sense if you

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS CHARMING SHORT CLIP FROM THE MOVIE – POLLYANNA 

One of my favorite movies is Pollyanna (1960), starring Haley Mills with an outstanding supporting cast. Pollyanna offers us a new image in 2019 when thinking about the theme of this blog: honoring the past and building a future. A scene in the movie illustrates why glass prisms are applicable to Rocky Mount. The children are hanging in a window the crystals prisms they removed from chandeliers and lamps. The refracted light appears as rainbows on the walls. We have many people who have been like crystal prisms in the story of Rocky Mount.

In case you have forgotten – Pollyanna, is a 12-year-old, who arrives in the small town of Harrington. Google research reminds us she is a cheerful, talkative and radically optimistic youngster who focuses on the goodness of life. She finds something to be glad about, no matter the situation. In doing so, Pollyanna’s positive outlook on everything helps her make a wide variety of friends in the community, including the hypochondriac and grouchy Mrs. Snow and the acidic recluse Mr. Pendergast. Pollyanna is not easily discouraged in trying to win them over, a trait we must all cultivate while helping with the revitalization of Rocky Mount. I especially like the part in this video clip where Mr. Pendergast explains how the prism works. However, he does so with a long and tedious explanation (much like the excuses given when it comes to saving Main Street.) Saving Main Street isn’t complicated. I believe we will stand along Main Street one day soon and marvel at the restoration and repurposing of the architecture there. We’ll be saying, “This is the most beautiful ‘room’ in the entire world.”

We already have prisms of light strung in the window of Rocky Mount. I love writing about them and there are others to add. These lights will be forever linked and honored for their contribution to Rocky Mount. We must have leadership, however, that will help hang prisms of light in this New Year. If not, there should be a casting call for new actors to take their place. I hope you agree?

Read about another prism of light tomorrow. Can you guess who it is?

HIT THE FOLLOW BUTTON ABOVE AND MEET ME ON MAIN STREET THIS YEAR

Company is Coming! Thoughts About The City Council and Our Downtown

   “You cannot score a goal when you are sitting on the bench. To do so,                                  you have to dress up and enter the game.”

I would never want the positive attitude of this blog to change.  I am, after all, a Pollyanna at heart: everything is beautiful, in its own way. But this quotation has caught my attention and I have taken it seriously. Though this post may be viewed as controversial, I hope you agree that we can talk about problems from time to time. Let’s begin by acknowledging that everyone who grew up in and around Rocky Mount has a story to tell about their memories of going downtown with Grandma to pick up her prescriptions, or buying ‘back to school clothes’ at Belks or having a soda at the drugstore. That was then.

I have thought about Main Street and the Event Center like a brand new sparkling red barn sitting adjacent to a faded, neglected farmhouse. Something seems bass-ackward about this scene in spite of the barns usefulness and addition to the community. With the opening of the barn doors, we have company coming to town. Looking at Main Street through the eyes of these strangers, I say, “Lordy, Lordy, what are they going to think of us with so many of our downtown commercial buildings looking awful? We have SO MUCH to be proud of, but will our guests see the beautifully restored Train Station, Bus Station, Imperial Center, the Douglas Block, and Streetscape or understand the investment and creativity that is at work at The Mill, and in our new downtown businesses? Or, will they take home the picture of Main Street with many peeling facades, boarded up, with broken glass and vegetation growing out of cracks in the bricks?

We like to blame others for the neglected farmhouse, but the truth is, it’s all of our faults put together! We have allowed our leadership to remain in place year after year who won’t enforce codes or make policies, to keep our beautiful commercial buildings and historic neighborhoods from further deterioration.  We seem so hesitant to demand what as taxpayers we should expect. It reminds me of Harry Potter and The One Who Shall Not Be Named syndrome.

Often our efforts with the City Council, when criticized or questioned, get derailed by derogatory name-calling: telling someone they are a racist seems to work well. This appears to be the fallback accusation when the state of things are brought to the attention of the Council who can offer no justification for why Main Street languishes. I would say the word  ‘ticked’ comes to mind when we learned that the taxpayers have just paid thousands of dollars to send newly hired people off for training. We look at each other and ask, “Why are we not hiring people in the first place that come to us with the appropriate educational background and laudable credentials that make them ready to ‘have at it’ on day one?” What leadership, with our best interests in mind, keeps spending thousands of dollars on parades rather than using that money to start stabilizing facades along Main Street or fix a block of houses in terrible disrepair? We don’t need more low-income housing, we need to clean up and save what we have and turn neglected homes into neighborhoods to be proud of again.

We don’t expect or want city government to fix everything, but we need leadership to care more for the city than a tightly guarded power base, we the taxpayers, are continually having to quarrel with. It is not fair to suggest, and I’m not, that nothing good has been accomplished, but honestly, folks, since no one is irreplaceable, term limits should be put on the ballot. After all, if something like a 3 term limit of say 2 years each isn’t enough time to accomplish the job,  you get what we’ve got.

 

I would love to read your comments left below.