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November 12, 2019

11/8/2019 3:25:00 PM
Downtown needs attention
J. Patrick Reilly

Empty buildings in the downtown business district is signaling change but not in a good way.
Saturday the downtown pharmacy known as Corner Drug exited the corner it has occupied for 125 years and moved to an open space in the mall. The move was made for business reasons with a lot of it having to do with access. Simply put, there is no good parking for customers to stop in for a quick pick-up.
Recently Our Front Porch announced it will be open occasionally for pop-up sales which closes another business that could bring shoppers to the downtown. Kozelka Wall closed earlier this year and while the building has been sold it will be a year before it is occupied again. Plus our famous bakery will not be open Mondays.
In researching the history of Corner Drug's downtown location one of the sources was the 2007 edition of Eleanor Remembers, written by the late Eleanor Nelson. While Corner Drug had only a small space in the book it was for a good reason. Eleanor remembers when every building on the main business street was occupied both upstairs and downstairs. It is a far cry from that now as apartments have replaced upstairs businesses and service businesses have replaced retail.
Is there an answer to filling the buildings and bringing back a main business district. We hope one can be found. But right now there does not seem to be a coordinated effort to get anything moving.
We believe in our community and our downtown. It deserves to be more than just an occasional parade route and with spotty retail.
Ideas and volunteers to make things happen are welcome. Let your city representatives and the Chamber of Commerce know your thoughts.

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