Monday, November 22, 2010

REAL ESTATE - Growth - Bah Humbug!

As a certified "Grumpy Old Man", I am legally required to complain about everything. If I am ever found to have a positive opinion on any issue, I could lose my Social Security benefits or be required to eat supper at 4:30 at the "WoodGrill Buffet". Now, in order to complete the requirements to qualify for my handicap license plates and big sunglasses, I want to complain about growth.

Harrisonburg was such a perfect town before it got big. No shopping centers, strip malls, traffic and all these people in the check out line at WalMart. For most of the year, I go out of my way to avoid driving on Reservoir Street or Port Road and that makes it almost impossible to get out of Costco on a Friday afternoon. Now, with all this traffic comes more stoplights. It take almost 20 minutes for me to get to the Heritage Oaks Golf Course and I pass at least 12 stoplights when going to the JMU Theater or a football game.

The most insidious effect of this unbridled growth has been on real estate values. In 1976, I bought a small home for $11,000 but, because of growth, the next buyer of that home had to pay $32,000. In 1979, I bought a home in Fairway Hills for $75,000 but the poisonous effect of this growth has probably quadrupled that value by now as homes become more unaffordable.

Why can't Harrisonburg be more like Covington? This idyllic rural town has found a way to control growth. First of all, they don't have some big annoying university around and most of the businesses have shut down. There largest employer is a paper mill and even though it has more layoffs every year, it doesn't smell as bad as it use to. They have even found a way to reduce traffic and probably have fewer stoplights than 20 years ago. Best of all, they have been able to curb the rising value of real estate so well that you can still find a large selection of nice homes for less than $100,000.

What was I complaining about? Remember, I'm old and sometimes forgetful. Is it 4:30 yet?


Monday, November 15, 2010

The 5 and Dime - Colors taken on 11/15/10

A FALL not soon to be forgotten.

Need I say more!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The 5 and Dime - Only Ourselves to Blame

Just over a week ago, Harrisonburg citizens relinquished one of our most valuable players in helping the city to accomplish the optimum goals for the majority of the people. On November 2nd approximately 15,000 voters had the opportunity to support Carolyn Frank by continuing her position on City Council for another term, but we chose not to do so. Some citizens abstained from voting and, perhaps equally disheartening, some voted strictly party lines.

I can not profess to understand the reasoning, or perhaps lack thereof, but I can categorically state that we have greatly hindered our chances of success by losing a common sense, not for sale, tireless, warrior of a woman on Council. Carolyn never concerned herself with big money or a title. If the plan did not enhance the quality of life for the majority of the people, she did not support it. She continually fought to be a good steward of taxpayers' money and she stood up for what was right even in the face of having to stand isolated from all.

I could go on and on about the myriad activities and number of incredible improvements Carolyn has brought to our wonderful city but I won't. Leave it to say, the only judicious, well-grounded advocate who fought for our voices to be heard is now extinct from council and I am immensely grieved. I loath being called a naysayer but I imagine in the years to come many more of us will also be grieving and we will only have ourselves to blame.