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Wednesday, May 22, 2019
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Downtown Development-The Middletonian

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    Posted: Apr 11 2019 at 5:35pm
Got a nice, fancy, colorful magazine in the mail today. Looked through it and noticed that the theme was centered on the downtown businesses and activity with a few "non-downtown" entities sprinkled in. Had a nice write-up on Jalin Marshall and his quest to attract the NFL's attention after being released by the New York Jets. The demise of the AAF didn't help his cause either.

The magazine had a few nice black and white photos of 1920's Middletown as well.

The magazine appears to be supported by business donations from various sources around town and comes via a local printing shop with local writers for the articles. This is the "Spring 2019" edition with more editions to come apparently. I assume no city donated taxpayer money was used in this endeavor.

This idea may have some merit in advertising the downtown area but I'm wondering how many people go to the mailbox, bring the contents back in the house and actually read the magazine for content versus the number of people who will discard the effort and treat it like junk mail. This seems to mirror the Community Foundation mail effort but doesn't ask for the donation.

I applaud the downtown supporters for attempting new, innovative ways to draw attention to the downtown. I just think it is too premature to initiate something like this until they have more to offer those who don't hold the arts and the culture thing in such high regard. Perhaps a mixture of business choices that would be more attractive to the majority of those living here instead of the tunnel vision insistence of offering only arts might help the effort. This may help in filling a major number of vacant storefronts as well. Currently, there is just not enough offered downtown, no matter what manner of advertising, and despite the fancy home magazine, to interest the average Middletown resident to attend any downtown function. The Bash seems to be the most attended event so far and it doesn't necessarily relate to upscale culture and the arts but rather is connected to what Middletown people are really all about.....blue collar working class.

The action is out by I-75 and has been for decades now. It is very difficult, as we are seeing, to attract people seven miles to the west in their downtown area. The downtown location worked before the east end growth starting back in the late 50's (1958) with Middletown Shopping Center as the first entry. That is when the downtown started to die. The Towne Mall added to the downtown misery in the 70's. It will be hard to revive an area of town that died decades ago. I applaud the effort by the new, younger business people, but the efforts for over a decade have not necessarily proven to be eye-opening so far. The effort has yielded spotty success with many business starts and endings and still, many, never filled vacancies to see as one drives Central Avenue. IMO, the downtown has never left the life support machine and totally stood on it's own.

I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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