The other day, I sat down to watch an old movie that was shot in downtown Mystic. Ah, seeing the pharmacy made me think of Bee Bee Dairy, and oh yes, the burned-out .
The downtown seemed so tightly knit back then. The hyphenated section of West Main Street is the most obvious symbol of the incongruity.
In the years that followed the fire, architects and developers put forth many plans to restore this prime piece of real estate. Each time the pedantic zealots in the DEP or the planning and zoning commission dealt a fatal blow to the deal. It would always be revealed that some minute detail, some nuance of design or purpose, was the cause for striking someone's dream.
More than a decade later, I see the solution as simple. Build it, and they will come. But what to build? The point of contention always seemed to be rooted in the structure itself. Who says it has to be a building? I have come up with some ideas, so developers, sharpen your pencils.
Mini park, a deck-like structure with benches scattered about. Ah, but where is the source of revenue in that? Coin-operated binoculars! Yes, each go for 25 cents will allow the spectator to view up the river at the , or down towards the bridge and-ugh-into someone's hotel room. O.K., maybe this isn't the right place for that idea. We don't want to encourage voyeurism.
Next on my list is a much more thought out plan for developing this plot. Open-air roller skating rink. Using the space as an open arena for skaters to work off their angst. Although, now that i think of it that angst may lead to a drowning in the river. Yeah, skip that one as well.
Extreme bumper cars. In using extreme in the title, a certain amount of danger is built into the theme. This makes the risk easier to manage. Although it could get costly replacing the cars after a crash off the side......
A carousel. Watch Hill has one, why can't we?
O.K. this is a winner. Miniature golf. Rather inexpensive to do, some artificial turf, a hole saw and you are in business. You may want to invest in golf balls that float.
The reality is, this is not easy. Any group can find a reason to dispute anything you may want to put on any parcel of land. What is needed is true compromise. The willingness of developers and planners to give and take. To work through the gray areas instead of vilifying the opposition.
The problems that face this small plot of land in Connecticut mirror the bigger problems in our government and our country as a whole.
However, in actuality, the rubble over which we are stumbling, just isn't that hard. The spirit of compromise is just that. The partisan, cut off our nose to spite our face mentality, has to be broken and abolished if we are to prosper as a nation once again.
The next time you walk through downtown, don't look at the empty plot, look at the opportunity we have.