What’s happening on Main Street? We just got back from our annual trip to Cedar City and the Shakespeare Festival. This is their fiftieth anniversary. We had a tremendous time with two of our older granddaughters. As we walked up the historic Main Street, I couldn’t help thinking of our own Main Street right here in Springville.
Cedar City’s downtown Main Street area is well taken care of, the property owners with few exceptions show pride in their properties. They are suffering from the down economy as we all are. There are a few vacant buildings but not many. Their Main Street is a bit longer than ours, but not by much—perhaps a block or two.
Our Main Street is anchored by our new city center and a new library on the North and continues south to 400 South. In the four blocks we have a variety of buildings built in the nineteenth century and the turn of the twentieth. Most have been renovated and are standing quite tall and show integrity to the era in which they were built.
I have been a participant on Main as a property owner since the mid 1990s. During this time I have witnessed a lot of changes. Businesses have come and gone. At one time there was not a vacancy on either side of the street. With the economic climate we are in, a few businesses have succumbed, lacking customers to make purchases.
The latest to announce the closure of their business is the Grace Bookstore. Preceding them was the business across the street. Nothing looks worse and is a greater decay in a downtown area than vacant buildings looking for new tenants. One of the biggest eyesores in our downtown area is the historic Rivoli Theatre, formally the Villa Playhouse.
Granted, the timing was off when the city acquired the building with an eye to renovating it and turning it into a cultural arts center. It is a grand idea. It would make a beautiful anchor to the Southern end of our historic downtown area. It would be a draw for visitors from outside our city and would be an economic shot-in-the-arm and could lead to a vibrant downtown area. I hope that we are not destined to have boarded-up store fronts and further decay.
Let us all support these downtown businesses and establishments and open our pocketbooks to help the Rivoli get restored to its original class act. As Carolyn Pearson wrote: “The opening curtain shudders, moves on an unseen cue. The stage is consciousness, the cast is you.” Until next week, keep smiling.