Jane Jacobs, a great urban planner and theorist, once said, “The point of cities is multiplicity of choice.” Inside this end of the year issue, you will find a list, by no means exhaustive, but hopefully compelling enough to make you take to your feet and walk down Main Street to do your Christmas shopping. If you have the time, see if you can walk the whole thing—you’d be amazed by the “multiplicity of choice” right here in Beacon.
Ms. Jacobs was a frequent foe of city politicians and the real estate developers who often dictated city policy. For her part, Ms. Jacobs preferred to see growth that supported a thriving business and interpersonal community, rather than the anonymity of malls, highways and corporate interests. Perhaps this sounds “old fashioned” or like going backwards. But, as anyone who has lived in Beacon for 50, 30, 20 or even 10 years can tell you, when all of the business left town for the malls, there wasn’t much “town” left. Luckily, the “town” feeling has returned to Beacon.
Of course, the debate will continue. As we have seen over the last several years, population flux and demographic shifts can alter the needs of a city. Whether the question is a new library, open space vs. development, police department leadership, school expansion, condominiums on Main Street, or parking levies on new businesses, we can always choose to weigh our decision against the thought, “Does this policy build community or detract from community?”
The Main Street life of Beacon’s community has come a long way in the last 15 years. Despite the ups and downs, businesses that open and close, the balance has been in a very positive direction. This year take a look at the street and see the festive decorations, hear the laughter and smell the sweet aromas. Smile, and enjoy your community. Then, “pay it forward”, spend some money on Main Street…you never know what your bit of community building can do to make Beacon a better place!