By Sue Moore
It would be hard to top last month’s column with any kind of follow up personal story. For the last four and a half years of writing this column, I’ve assiduously avoided writing anything personal. My parents, who owned the Vicksburg Commercial-Express when I was growing up, insisted that we would never write stories about our family or any of its accomplishments or failings.
I breached that admonition by writing my personal experience about the trauma of an injury and its accompanying fault lines. It was very hard for me to do that, but I felt it could serve as a good way to bring the issue of the fear of falling to the attention of the public.
What I didn’t realize was how much compassion and concern people had for this editor and all of her foibles. So many people have expressed their concern and offered to help in any way. It was so heartwarming and I thank you all for sharing and caring. The recovery has been complete and I’m back to normal, whatever that may be.
The Winds of Change
Redevelopment is taking place at an accelerated clip in both Schoolcraft and Vicksburg. It is very exciting to see the vision of Windy and Jamie Clark for the school building on Cass Street that they will repurpose into residences, condominiums and event space. We will have a more in-depth story about this in a later issue. The village officials have also stepped up to look at future development and enact plans to help make it happen.
The Bad News in Vicksburg
In Vicksburg, the downtown merchants were shaken by the forfeiture of the Hill’s Pharmacy buildings, leaving a big hole for retailing on the west side of S. Main Street. The assumption is that Bob Dornbos’ building next door would be for sale once Dr. Ford moved into his new building on E. Prairie Street. Plus, the empty building that Skip Knowles owns next to Dornbos leaves the whole block in jeopardy. It will take a lot to revitalize this block.
The Good News in Vicksburg
At the same time, the façade of the former Doris Lee Sweet Shop at 103 E. Prairie is being gently sandblasted and repainted as will the adjacent building at 101 E. Prairie.
Progress is being made on the sale of the derelict Krum-Hallam car dealership at W. Prairie at Boulevard with the hope that this brownfield property can be redeveloped.
Rumor has it that The Dek, formerly The Vault, has been sold to a restaurateur from Portage with plans to reopen in the spring.
On Highway Street, the old flower shop at 108 has been sold and soon the mill at 300 W. Highway Street will be getting a facelift starting in the spring of 2018.
AVB has started building its second condo at Bridgeview next to Angels Crossing golf course. Its first one didn’t sell for several years but the company has come through with a promise to keep building upscale condos in that neighborhood.
Over at Centennial on 22nd Street, the houses are going up in the blink of an eye. It’s amazing to drive by one week to see new houses where vacant lots stood and the next week see several more frames being erected next door. These starter houses are bringing young children and families to the community that could be the key to revitalizing the downtown – but only if the marketing gurus can figure out how to attract them to Main and Prairie street stores, rather than going north to Portage or Kalamazoo.
That’s where the Downtown Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce can play a much bigger role, should they choose to do so.