When you see someone putting down fertilizer in a garden, or watering a seed before it pokes out of the ground as a plant, you know that the foundation is being set for growing a healthy living thing. You know this because you’ve seen it, you’ve learned about it in grade school and how the process works. Never in a million years would you ever say “that water isn’t going to help that plant grow,” because you know it will… unless you’re growing a cactus or something.
But the truth is, most people don’t know what the vital ingredients are to grow a community in today’s world. They don’t exactly teach that science in schools.
A short while ago, Utica resident Liz Mikoda, who has followed my blog from the beginning, was kind enough to send me a few photos she took of the new bike racks in Downtown Utica’s Bagg’s Square neighborhood.
I have spoken endlessly about additions like these as being vital to creating a welcoming, walkable downtown, which eventually leads to a thriving, colorful local economy.
While it is often hard to understand how something so small that may seem rarely used now are the first signs of creating strong downtowns with businesses, restaurants, galleries, bars and retail, this has been the pattern across the country. The people that do go to school to learn how communities grow know this “if you build it, he will come” phenomenon understand that cycling and pedestrian friendly infrastructure is the watering can for stronger downtowns. It’s that element that few people see, but all appreciate when the results begin to show.
And the results are already showing up in a big way. On St. Patrick’s Day, I had the good fortune to bounce around downtown Utica at wonderful places like Bite, Ocean Blue, Swifty’s and Gerbers 1933 Tavern. More importantly, I watched the community embrace these establishments, old and new, with smiling faces and loving hearts.
What does this all mean? It means that bike racks are just the beginning Utica. The good stuff is already on the way 🙂