As We See It

A quick thought on Downtown hatin’

After the fire … came the heat from people who think Downtown is a waste of time and resources.
Photo: Corlene Byrd

Coverage of the blast that rocked the Arts District on Sunday morning, and of the fire in the area later that day, once again exposed an angry divide between the city’s suburbanites and those crazy folks who live and work Downtown. On one website a couple of dissenters complained of the area’s grit, homeless people and hookers, wasted money and poor investments. Someone praised the idea of blowing up all of Downtown.

“Downtown is a dump and the few cheerleaders here telling us all about a few boutique bars and some galleries does not sustain their argument for downtown being ‘nice,’” one commenter wrote.

Downtowners shrug: “There are those who think we should live in strip mall,” says Wes Myles, Arts Factory owner.

“We’re just cut from a different cloth,” says Marty Walsh, owner of Trifecta Gallery.

For those cut from suburban cloth (like me), there remains this question: Why do you care? If you prefer to drive from strip mall to strip mall on fat roads lined with chain restaurants, if you like gated communities and blasé stucco, why is Downtown on your radar at all?

You don’t have to bother with those delicious restaurants or those crazy, tight-knit, passionate communities of people who want to be connected with their neighbors in quaint industrial or tree-lined areas, tinged with history, even if the occasional alleyway is urine-soaked; you needn’t bother with those Downtowners who aren’t there to make a killing on their business, knowing they’ll probably lose money opening a gallery, but who want to be part of an urban core anyway. Sure, they welcome you and want you to experience a lively, community atmosphere. But you don’t have to.

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Kristen Peterson

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