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Letter to the Editor: An Article from an Average Clarionite
It’s that time of year again in this beautiful part of our country.
A time for us to enjoy the last few days of warm weather, to take those last tube trips down the river, and to start preparing our county for Autumn Leaf. You know Autumn Leaf – that event that all 50 of the flag poles down Main Street advertise year-round about. That single event that seems to dominate this borough’s entire existence. The one thing, at least it seems to me, the county seat is willing to spend any kind of actual money to support.
Don’t get me wrong, as a non-native of this county, Autumn leaf is an amazing event that should be celebrated and supported, but at what cost?
I only ever see the street sweeper out in late August or September. What about all that road debris we have after winter? I only ever see the road line painters inside the borough this time of year, but isn’t the winter coming? Wouldn’t those brand-new lines be more useful in say April when we have random heavy rains and seeing those old lines becomes a bit hazardous? What about all those flag posts on Main Street? Are they only reserved for Autumn Leaf and the university?
Anytime I walk up or down Main Street, I have a mixed experience. If I let my eyes wander up, I get a beautiful view of trees and historic buildings, citizens waving to each other, and a general appeal of the small-town life. However, if I let my eyes wander down, I see a different view of our county seat. I see cigarette butts and trash littered through the gutters and up against buildings, I see gum stuck to sidewalks that looks like it was put there when the town was founded, and I see a general unkempt that eludes to a feeling of apathy regarding the ground we walk on.
But, this only exists outside of Autumn Leaf. During that week, the trash is cleaned up, the sidewalks are cleaned or covered, and everyone puts their best foot forward. But, what about the other 51 weeks we live in this town? Is it too much to ask that we make business owners care what the sidewalk looks like in front of their stores? Is it too much to ask for the borough to employ the street sweeper more than just the week before and week after? Is it too much to ask that instead of repainting the Main Street benches, can we possibly paint the curbs on other streets first?
I make these observations because this is the town I want to raise my new family in. This is the town I want to grow old in. This is going to be that town for all 52 weeks each year for the rest of my life, and I want the people who make decisions for our town to care about each one of those weeks, not just this special one.
So, as you’re out enjoying this great festival this year, pay attention to how great our town looks, how clean the streets are, and how friendly we are to each other. Then, pay attention to the zip tied banners attached to the Autumn Leaf flags hanging on each flag post, notice that the last time the street sweeper will be out is mid-October, and watch as this town slowly goes back into its 51-week hibernation until next ALF.
I know this town has the potential to be great because it has been in the past. All I wonder is when it stopped being so and what can we do as citizens to turn that trend around and to make Clarion a great place again?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter or anything else regarding how we can make this town great for 52 weeks, not just one.
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