Glenwood downtown changes may be discouraging business
So, “you can’t fight city hall.” That’s a pretty fair assumption. One must get in on the decision-making process to have any “say so.” Decisions are just a compromise of opinions. So, you can’t fight city hall because “it’s here.” Where were you?
“Back in the old days,” things were obvious: water, sewer, roads … life was so much simpler then. Glenwood led the way with one of the first towns to have an electric power plant; today it’s one of the first cities being wired to the world via fiberoptics. Glenwood has a great new community center and handsome, well landscaped municipal operations center and bus barn. What’s next, besides some good traffic solutions?
Decision-making in Glenwood takes some big loops. I remember the great grocery store location war. Seventeen years ago Glenwood “needed more grocery stores.” City Market had just built a new store behind its twenty-year-old store, then demolished it for a parking lot, leaving the Center Drug/Payless/Rite Aid building orphaned as it is. Safeway located where True Value is, could not expand, and built the building that now houses Jake Jabb’s American Furniture Warehouse. This left the west side of Grand open; so, to balance things out, Smith Foods found a choice piece of ground where Safeway now is, and built that building. If position were a factor, as it was now apparent, West Glenwood would be a key player, especially with the new mall. Giant Foods built a building with the economy shopper in mind. This building now awaits its fourth occupant. By the time it was all over, these buildings could have comfortably held the population of the whole town … square footage vs. population. In the end, City Market and Safeway were as they had been, as they are now, on opposite sides of the street, just a bit more offset (even as they originally had been, on opposite sides of Ninth Street).
Well, that’s the private sector at its most absurd. In the end, Glenwood benefited with some more great retail space. This begs the question: How well does the city work for, and/or against business? It is apparent that people talk “at” each other, rather than “to” each other, or why would these perennial problems and huge decision-making loops exist?
Since 1989, when trees were planted in downtown Glenwood, as the years creep by, this has been the first year that the foliage is dominant. It really softens the downtown area. It’s changed its character. That’s an example of better planning; otherwise, I’m of the opinion of medicine’s creed: “Do no harm.” As it applies to anything that’s done by any governing entity, beyond basic maintenance – water, roads, sewer, etc. – certain criteria should be followed. If no standards are set, then people entrench themselves into their own mode of thinking. Victories are individual petty power matches. The real “vision thing” becomes lost in the rhetoric.
Traffic’s slow enough on Grand Avenue. What’s with the new stop light? What is more effective and attractive and more efficient than florescent/neon lighting? What’s with the new sign code? How friendly are the requests to comply? It comes down to how you can effectively get your message out to the world that you exist. I hope for lack of knowledge and tact, coupled with a short attention span, that Glenwood really does have commerce at heart and is not catering to petty complaints; otherwise, conducting/doing business elsewhere is becoming easier all the time.
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