Last night, a group of us went to the new Forbes Center for a musical production and we all continue to be impressed with the facility, although the musical was a little weird. As we left the theater, I couldn't help thinking of what this area looked like in the past. Buffalo Wild Wings was Doc's Tea Room and the parking deck is on the location of the Daly Shoe Factory. It all made me remember the other industrial giants who once called Harrisonburg home.
The Water Street parking deck was the site of our police station when I was a kid but before that, it was a tannery. The Metro building on Broad Street was a pants factory and Sancar Flats once held scores of employees making underwear. In recent years, we lost the Kawneer plant (Lowes) and Dunham Bush was replaced by Harrisonburg Crossing. It seems that the only production left in town involves poultry or ice. I guess we need to find a new industry to keep our economy going.
That's right, it is the economic engine for our town and this one won't move to China. It is time to think of the Grey Panthers as a business and concentrate more efforts in attracting them to town.
Think about it. They have money and spend it, they don't take jobs, suck up public assistance resources or have kids in school. They are generally good citizens who take care of their property, pay their bills and have a positive economic impact on the community. We already have the attractions in place: beautiful scenery, activities of JMU, cheap public golf, lots of retirement homes, all you can eat buffets and a brand new hospital. The only downside is that they are sometimes pretty cranky and can be a traffic hazard but other than that it is a "match made in heaven."