In my previous blog post titled “Downtown Dickinson Association Seeking Executive Director” where I offered some proposals for downtown Dickinson, some of my ideas were better than others. I should not be a nuisance to the Downtown Dickinson Association. I should be helpful and supportive because what they are doing will make Dickinson a better place to live.
If you didn’t think very much about it, and jumped to conclusions, you might think that the Downtown Dickinson Association seeks to gain attention for downtown Dickinson in order to bring customers to businesses and tenants to the property owners. Yes, it does do that, this is part of the plan. A healthy and attractive downtown benefits all of Dickinson in many ways, not just the downtown business owners and property owners.
In most cities and towns that have grown, shopping centers and shopping malls were built beyond the old sections of town. With one massive multi-acre parking lot, people would park their car, enter the shopping center or mall, and walk from store to store. Later, without people really noticing, Wal-Mart and Target began to replace the shopping centers and the malls, because people could buy everything very cheaply inside just one store.
The shopping centers, shopping malls, and Wal-Mart are very formatted and controlled according to what corporations want. There are no shade tress, benches, or tables outside, because they do not want their parking lots to be comfortable, attractive, and appealing. They want there to be nothing in their parking lots to distract, delay, entertain, or amuse their customers, such as a shady spot or comfortable spot where customers going in, might meet and talk to their friends coming out.
Inside the shopping centers, malls, and Wal-Mart, there are aisles and lanes for shoppers, that are not really conducive to stopping, standing still, or sitting. There are designated food courts, that are minimal, and not very comfortable. The shopping environment is very controlled with bright lighting, generic music, neutral decor, standardized layout, uniformed employees, and store rules.
Shopping centers, malls, and Wal-Mart have their purpose, which is to get in, buy as much as you can, and get out, quickly. I don’t enjoy going to shopping malls or Wal-Mart, because they have the barren no-mans land parking lots, and inside they are somewhat bland, generic, dull, uninteresting, crowded, and full of stressed out people who are in a hurry.
As cities and towns grow and expand, there are more and more chain or franchise restaurants that are owned by corporations, shopping centers that are owned by corporations, and apartment communities that are owned by corporations. All these corporation owned restaurants, shopping centers, and apartment communities look the same, and are built the same. To minimize costs, for ease of construction, for ease of maintenance, standardized accounting and management, lease-ability and re-sale ability, everything is built the same.
A relief from the monotony and drudgery of everything looking the same and being the same, the barren parking lots of the shopping centers and Wal-Mart, are the old downtown historic areas. Where every house and yard is different from the one next to it in a thousand different ways, every building is different, and every city block is different. A variety of different businesses, professionals, and services. Wealthy homes, middle class homes, lower middle class homes, all mixed together. Old people, middle aged people, families, and children all mixed together.
In downtown Dickinson, the residential neighborhoods surround the schools, churches, municipal buildings, and gradually give way to the businesses in the center of town. Traffic is not bad downtown, and it is very pleasant to walk or bicycle in the old historic section of town. It is an oasis of green with many kinds of large tall trees, hedges, shrubs, flowers, and lawns. Home to many birds, squirrels, and cats.
In the afternoon the downtown bars and restaurants open. Most of them have seating and tables outside on the broad sidewalks. There are many attractive women who work downtown, you can go and look at them, and leave them money.
In the Spring, Summer, and Fall there are outdoor events and concerts in downtown Dickinson. There are a few locations that have enough space inside to host events and live music in the Winter.
Downtown Dickinson is the most social area of Dickinson due to the blending of residential, municipal, business, bars, restaurants, events, and concerts. All kinds of people, every type of person comes downtown. It is the Downtown Dickinson Association that is not just promoting the businesses and the property downtown, but it is also preserving the character and social aspect of downtown Dickinson.