From Jim Stalker
Creston’s oldest shopping center is in a bad state of disrepair and vacancy. The old downtown has literally stood still while the rest of Creston has moved on, circling the older business section that was once the center of activity. Times change. We have been told nothing ever stays the same, and that if we want to stay productive, we should move right along with that change. But here lies the problem. We assumed that we have not made those changes and this is the reason our downtown/uptown has fallen backward. Our assumptions are totally wrong.
Take for example, Farm and Home. They got their start in the downtown and stayed there many years. As they became more successful, they decided they needed more room. So they built a new store on the outskirts of town. It was a natural thing to do.
That being said, I believe there is still room to keep the old historically proven sections of all the old downtowns alive and thriving. What some people fail to realize, this is the “jumping off’ place today that new businesses get their start. The rent is usually quite a bit less than locating around the outskirts and along the highways in the busier but higher taxed areas of a town.
Creston is a prime example of how that could work. In our downtown/uptown, we have a great advantage. Our history is built in ... a historical Post Office–Federal Court Building and the old power plant building located at the east edge of Adams Street. Back in the day, this was where they generated all the electricity for the entire town. And, let’s not forget the railroad that cuts through town. It’s a pain for us at times, and the Elm Street crossing is quite possibly the worst in the state, but that’s on the railroad and it doesn’t bode well for them especially when they are about to upgrade our restored Depot with an Amtrak station. Keeping all that in mind, we are still lucky to have that major railroad, when so many other towns have lost theirs, so we need to try to keep more positive about that situation. There are other historic buildings throughout the uptown, and there is work going on to bring back some of that old historical flavoring, but it will all take time.
In the meantime, we are suffering from a vacancy problem. Too many buildings are empty, for sale or rent. This is a prime time for new start-ups. If you or you know of someone interested in starting a new business, contact your banker or realtor. Gather up your friends and get something started. Old town Creston needs to get filled up and rolling again.