Program worth discussing

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By Ralph Damiani

Ruby K’s should get kudos for listening to Roger Brooks who told our community that we need to make some changes.

One of those was putting some color here – and if you happen to have gone by their restaurant (or take a look on page one)  you’d see the color they added.

Many of the points Brooks made are on the mark. Years ago when Wal-Mart moved into another state community, another such business guru thanked all the merchants that were open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. for supporting all of the unemployed people in town.

Brooks made a similar comment.

Not only do we seem to have our hours wrong, we do tend to not care much about the outward appearance of our town.

The chamber should be congratulated for this Community Assessment Workshop. There are many things we need to do, things we can do, now to improve our community and business climate.

We cannot just sit around wishing and hoping that the Trinity Project takes off.

Whether it does or not, there are things we can do now.

And Brooks hit the mark with his presentation.

From unflattering photos to commentary on how our downtown is unattractive, Brooks related a number of factors, including business focus, critical mass, beautification, retail signage, wayfinding, gathering places, gateways and amenities.

The key is finding what sets us apart, what do we have that gives people a reason to visit.

We need to work on our entry to town, on our signage and our streets. Landscaping can be improved. Simple things like this make major differences.

Bandelier is simply a lost opportunity. Shifting just a small number of its estimated 250,000 visitors a year there would result in millions in added revenue for us here. The plans for developing White Rock is just one step in that effort.

The simple fact is, there are some simple things that we can do to improve our appearance, our business climate and our community.

We just need the vision and the will to do it. So what are we waiting for?