by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
When I walk down Main Avenue I try to see it as my friends have described. Busy shops, sidewalks teeming with people who knew there, on Main Avenue, they would find friends. Everyone, I was told, went to Main Avenue.
Instead of seeing the pot holes and closed businesses, I imagine what could be, and what must happen for this to take place. Much more is at stake than you might imagine.
The little girl approached the man she had often seen assisting with breakfasts at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Around seven, she was bundled up in a blanket, though the day was very warm. It was around noon, and the church service had just ended.
“Why isn't there food this morning?” she asked him. Looking down at her anxious eyes for a moment he did not know what to say. Then he responded, “St. Peter's doesn't serve breakfasts during the summer months.”
The girl had lost the body fat of childhood and so appeared gaunt, her eyes far too large for her small face. She sighed, turning away.
As she walked off, her shoulders hunched forward, the man watched her, trying not to let his face show what he felt.
Looking first toward South Park and then North, I imagined how Ashtabula could change to provide more of what we need for all of us.
One of the businesses-we-want-here which emerged from the survey the ADDA circulated a while back, included a bakery on Main Avenue. I asked Al, a retired banker from my Yoga class at the Y, about a bakery here in Ashtabula. Al has been retired for longer than most people today have been alive, but he is sharp and had ideas. Bakeries are a resource in the community, providing both jobs and yummy pastries to be enjoyed at home, with friends, and while sitting at a table on Main Avenue, watching people.
A renovation for the Shea Theater, now empty and awaiting its fate, has been proposed. All change begins with one good thing happening.
What Ashtabula needs most is businesses which gives back to the people, and to the community, keeping money local and the focus on making our town a better place to live for all of us.
What would you like to see, when you walk down Main Avenue. Tell Me.
When people dream, and act, those dreams become reality.