Derek Johnson Muses

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Seward, Tear Down Your Unused Buildings!

Could have done it back in the 90's

Revenge of the 80’s?

Seward has been my home base for my nearly thirty-years of life, and one of the constants has been the empty buildings on the Jones Bank lot. One was a Napa Auto Parts store, and the other use to be a roller rink, but I can barely remember a time when either front was used. (Someone I knew reminded that a flea market was in there nearly twenty years ago.) But finally, with the renovations underway at the bank, both buildings have been reduced to rubble.

Good freaking riddance.

As I record here, I traverse a lot of country, and there’s one thing you see everywhere: empty storefronts. I’ve seen them in Bay Area suburbs where my aunt and uncle live, in major Midwest cities , and in small towns everywhere. Rotting wood, cracking paint, rocks with holes in them. It’s sad, and it says a lot about how a town cares about its image. Frankly, if I had had money, I would have bought the old Napa Auto Parts store and turned it into a trendy townhouse/loft. Of course, the reason I don’t have any money is probably related to the fact that I would build a trendy town home in Seward, Nebraska.

But back to my point. The point is, America has way too rotting empty buildings. Some of this is probably inevitable (like the employment rate never hitting zero). But a building sitting vacate in the same town for twenty-some years is unacceptable, in the middle of downtown no less. At least the building across the highway from Wal-Mart south of Seward that has kept various restaurants rotating through it. NOTHING was in this two buildings for nearly twenty years. Couldn’t we at least have pulled it down and made a park?

But now these are gone, an accomplishment this town can celebrate. Here’s to Seward. And while we’re at, let’s try and get something permanent in the old hardware store across the street from Cattle Bank. Not to mention that there’s several old, empty homes around our city, paint cracking and ivy flowing out of them. Let’s do something about those too. Anyone got some loose capital lying around?


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