Is Tearing Down Americana Really Progress?

As time moves on, empty buildings of the past that hold nothing but memories get torn down. The developers involved in the demolition always say that progress is a good thing and the new building/complex/shopping center will be better for the area. But is this really true? Many of the places where this happens are old industrial or railroad towns where the factories or rails were shuttered and shut down a long ago and lie dormant. The town stayed there because, well, people were born there, lived there and prices are cheap. Yes, trendy new spaces could make the town more vibrant, but what good is that if you lose what makes this town feel like a home? Will the current residents really want to stay in a place that is deteriorating, with few opportunities, if the town is looking different, the landmarks of their childhood are gone, and a less-friendly young crowd is moving in? Is that "progress"?

Actually, the problem is that eventually people die, nobody will have memories of anything and people continually reinvent themselves. Still, you cannot deny there is a comfortable, homey feeling to Americana. It is an echo of the past. So we are being confronted by a problem which is complicated by the fact that often times the trendy, modern replacement quickly falls into disuse and becomes more of an eyesore than the original, "historical" site. Perhaps this is location, perhaps this is a town that didn't need another shopping space where a landmark used to stand, perhaps this is the developer just being greedy. Don't forget - the replacement might not even be as good as the former occupant.

>What do I think?

Keep the Americana because progress just does not equal tearing down memories. Hot new spaces built now won't be so hot a few years from now. It's a recipe for rolling losses and demolitions. What really brings in a young crowd and opens the future of the town? Jobs. Not retail stores that promise a lot, bring in few jobs, much waste and certainly won't save the town in the long run. And who will shop there to keep this shiny new store afloat? Therefore, tearing down landmarks isn't a long term solution. It is an effort by city hall to find a different way to bring in tax revenue without raising property taxes and not seeing the big picture. Let me just say this: the only way and the best long term solution for that extra tax revenue is to bring back the jobs from overseas. If we want to be save our towns and be able to compete with other countries, we have to revitalize industry in this country.


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