So December has been a busy, crazy month and as I'm sure you've noticed the blog has suffered for it. So, with an eye toward the New Year here is my list of things I'd like to see for Fall River in 2008.
1. A cleaner city - Here's hoping that in 2008 more attention is paid to keeping our city streets, sidewalks and city entrances clean. A cleaner city is one that is more hospitable, more inviting to potential business and one that we could be more proud of.
2. A new face in the State House - Mayor-elect Correria is stepping down from his house seat and a special election scheduled to take place in early 2008. I would like to see Fall River residents vote for someone because of what they stand for and what they bring to the table and NOT because they have the most familiar name or the best spaghetti supper.
3. Clean, paint or polish - I understand the delays to fix the facade of Government Center but why does the INSIDE look so drab and rundown? Why did we spend a gazillion bucks on an athletic field at Durfee when the school itself looks like it needs some serious TLC? For 2008 I would like to see some investment in maintaining, repairing, and sprucing up of various city owned properties. Letting them get more run down, worn out, and dilapidated is depressing and is only going to cost us MORE money down the road.
4. The Community embracing the Studio Artists Project - The concept is simple take an empty storefront and allow it to be used by an artist as studio space. The concept is simple and so is the benefit. While the artist gets free studio space a vacant store front becomes a vibrant part of the community. Vibrant storefronts are certainly better to see than vacant one!
5. A new city website - There are those who will tell you that the city's website is just is far from cutting edge. I'm personally fine with that. I could live with the dated design if the site was kept up to date and actually fully functional but it's not. Here's hoping that in 2008 the mayor who didn't think much of a campaign website prioritizes a new city one. A fully functional website with an interactive calendar, a way to contact each department, and updated content would be quite a New Year's treat!
6. Forward progress - In 2008 I would like to see forward progress on at least one long overdue and talked about project. Can we have some real progress on Watuppa Heights or commuter rail? Could we see some groundwork on the Capitol Theater? Could someone daylight a PLAN for the Quequechan River? All I'm asking for is progress on just one!
7. Books - Is it too much to ask that a city of 90,000 have a book store? It depresses me that Baker Books couldn't make a go of it but with Strictly By The Book experiencing some growth maybe the city could convince them to open up a small retail outlet at one of the current locations or maybe out of a downtown storefront.
8. A Children's Museum - The long talked about Fall River Children's Museum is still looking for a home. Here's hoping that in 2008 our community leaders step to the plate and help put this project back on track.
9. More prominence for secondary media sources - It's my hope that in 2008 Fall Riverites will look to sources other than the Herald News and WSAR to get their news and opinions from. The folks at the Fall River Spirit, The South Coast Insider, and the Southcoast Tribune all have wonderful coverage of the various things going on in our community. Fall River Community Television has some very solid and interesting local programming and there is a growing community of local bloggers with interesting opinions of their own.
10. That we embrace the city motto - to often people scorn the city's motto of "We'll Try" but I think it's time we embrace it. In 1843 that was a terrific fire that devastated the then town of Fall River. Once the fire was out and the damage assessed the question of whether or not the town could come back from this was brought up and the answer was "we'll try." The citizens on that long ago day new that there would be struggles that it would require hard work and that there would be no guarantees. Today we need to embrace that same spirit. Today Fall River faces many serious issues, with no simple solutions, but if we want to make our city a better place to live, we need to role up our sleeves face the issues head on and say "we'll try!"