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Parting Thoughts: January / February 2012

Jan 09, 2012 11:49AM ● Published by Erik Dittmann

By: Jim Dittmann

Well here we are:  Parting Thoughts Volume 1 Issue 1.

So I head down to Swan City Park last week – a beautiful winter day, planning to make an “Iconic” photograph for the inaugural issue of LocaLeben.  The once celebrated ground left me a bit – well let’s call it “bummed”…  Perhaps I’m too nostalgic or naive – sure it’s winter, but it seems we are missing some of the original splendor.  Lamplights are missing from many of the beautiful stone columns – seems a bit of a shame.  The Vita Spring pavilion has a fresh coat of paint – it looks good but seems lonesome.   As I walk further, there suspended between two magnificent trees, a quiet perfectly unassuming banner – 30 feet above my feet – greeting guests:  “Welcome!” Electrical wires have grown into the tree trunk – cut some time ago – left disconnected.  Does anybody know the last time that baby was lit up – who built it?  Let’s turn ON the welcome sign!  It would be a great New Year’s resolution – ‘eh? 

It’s good to see the downtown revitalization getting some traction.  Much has been accomplished in the last few years, but as we can see - there’s still much to do.  Drive or walk down Front Street.  Many vacant buildings remain.  Why - who is responsible?  Each of us is - yes, more than we care to admit.  Our community founders would be disappointed to see how we have neglected – for too long – the heart of our little town.

Local businesses sustain our local economy.  More of each dollar spent at a local business remains in the community to support those things important to each of us.  Which local business, IF gone tomorrow, will you miss the most?  Before driving to the “Big Box,” go to the local “Little Box” and say “Hello Neighbor!” – you’ll be pleased how helpful they will be.  We will all be better off – and you will spend less on gas in the process.  Overall you will have saved time, received a better quality product for less overall cost to you, and added more value to the local economy.  When we embrace the concept of a “Local Living Economy,” suddenly there is a thriving business in every one of those downtown buildings.  Am I being naive again, or do you remember the time when so many specialty shops existed – bakeries – meat markets – jewelers – haberdasheries’ – wonderful goods of outstanding quality.

A Local group (Downtown Beaver Dam Inc.) is engaged to assist with and promote the redevelopment of our downtown area.  Ken Thomas is President of the organization and new members are always welcome – you can reach Ken at 887-8876.  Many hands make lighter work.

LocaLeben is a source to improve community awareness, showcasing activities and projects, which improve the physical and social fabric of our hometown.  We look forward to hearing from many of you.

Special thanks:

Kurt Samson – Curator of the Dodge County Historical Society.  Take some time to check out the museum – It’s a fascinating place.

John & Helen Keil for sharing their time and memories.

downtown local business revitalization local economy

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