Lead City to Prosperity
“Out brief candle.” Recently a two-way street proposal was snuffed out after a City Hall “hullabaloo;” this would seem a trifle happening, given a public shrug and the need for so much more downtown development — just one proposed patch on a Wheeling pothole removed; one crumbling building ignored; one empty lot left empty; one proposed remedy for the homeless ignored. But what if the two- way street proposal was not a trifle? What if it opened a door for progress?
Perhaps the underlying impact reveals a character flaw in the street turnaround. Could it be that our mayor folded his cards when downtown business men and women, backed by a near-sighted Chamber of Commerce, refused to deal? And, the mayor pocketed his chips, thinking, “well I gave it a try?”
The two-way street could have been the first step in a 1,000-mile journey, because that is exactly where Wheeling must begin the journey it must make to regain its vigor and its rightful place as a vanguard for West Virginia.
A mayor with vision could have led the business community and Chamber of Commerce, kicking and screaming, down the road to downtown recovery, but the mayor followed their lead.
The two-way-street proposal lacked a backbone, disappointed supporters, and squandered money on a traffic analysis.
Time exists for the mayor to atone for his snafu: Spend the two-way-street money on creating a historical ambience for downtown Wheeling; For starters, establish an 18th century street milieu with daily visitors touring historical sites in horse-drawn carriages; employ frontier costumed actors parading about; let visitors enjoy the music of troubadours serenading downtown streets. The mayor could find absolution for his street-miscue by erecting 18th and 19th century frontages to cover the empty downtown lots; the suggestion box for establishing a historical city will fill up if put before residents. Of course the ballot box is more accessible. The mayor might look over his shoulder: Whence comes a man or woman with vision and courage to lead the journey to prosperity.
The mayor may have snuffed one brief candle, but the flame of hope burns brightly in the Friendly City for a downtown resurgence.