Settled In At Home

I’m back, been back for a few days. The amount of fatigue I feel is disconcerting.

I think it’s the humidity, there wasn’t much up north. Also life has been non-stop since I got back. Friday I went to the Vine Grove Farmer’s Market, sold a couple of books. Yesterday we went to Second Saturday and sold a couple of books.

The folks at Create Space are working on the new paperback. I should get the proof and hopefully the book will go back on sale in a few days.

It was mentioned that I ‘slammed’ Ashtabula in the book, by a resident. My Male Lead certainly doesn’t like what he sees, in 2006. But for the time it was pretty accurate, the roads were in horrible shape. The Harbor looked lovely but the rest was a mess.

I was pleased to see just how much better the City looked this year compared to what I saw in 2006. (I give credit to a President who isn’t as stingy with Federal money for roads and such, but who am I?)

In addition, the Main Street that had weeds growing 3 feet high down the center line in 2001, has been torn out for resurfacing. The first step in rebuilding an economic area is to fix the roads. (Or at least cut down the weeds.) I also need to mention the local government has changed hands, with a more progressive element now running things. The old Hotel Cantagallo was torn down.

I know from my youth, watching my parents work with the Harbor Historical Society as well as the Harbor Merchants Association, that it takes a tremendous amount of time and money to rebuild an area that has suffered decades of neglect. Bridge Street started to rebuild in the 1970’s when my mother and some like-minded friends started to kick around ideas for saving the area. Before that it was West 5th Street or ‘Skid Row’ and signs at the Yatch Clubs warned “Don’t go on West 5th Street after dark.”

By the time I left Ashtabula, 1992, there were a few people dedicated to rebuilding the worst of the worst (John Humphrey and the old Fire Station for instance.) While the buildings that had been occupied since the 1980’s were in good shape, employing dozens of people, there were still boarded up buildings. No longer. Everything was occupied or gone.

Building prices still aren’t consistant with national historic buildings – they may never command what has been poured into them over the years.

But the Harbor is vibrant today, more vibrant, foodie and trendy than ever. Let’s hope this vibrancy can work it’s way uptown in the years ahead.


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