The streets have changed markedly since we lived in a little 100 year old full of charm shack which was about a 10 minute walk from the downtown neighborhood.
We moved to our current place (50 years old, a piece of new construction by our standards of time and the housing market) 3 years ago. This place is only a 5-10 minute drive to downtown, but my trips to work and the retail outlets I need don’t take me there, so I don’t go often.
I was downtown to get my hair cut (by a cousin who is one of the best in the area), it was windy but nice out, and I had some time to take a walk. In just the past few years there has been a rush of building. A lot of parking lots and, more controversially, old brick buildings, have been turned into parking garages and student housing (even as enrollment at the university has dropped, that’s a whole other kettle).
I don’t have anything against parking garages or student housing (though I think a lot of the student housing structures that look stylish now are going to look like horrid death traps of death in a few years) but the rush to put them up has been, like so many rushes, not debated thoroughly and maybe not thought through.
And speaking of not thought through, this post is a mix of impressions, intuition, gut reactions, and meandering. My take on this whole subject hasn’t been the subject of serious debate or thorough thinking. But, if a few years down the line, there’s a local dust-up over what to do with these ramshackle housing units and once pristine parking garages that are now considered dilapidated eyesores, then we can rush to do something else.