(Opening my blog with an entry from my book review blog entitled “A New Appreciation” because it’s a nice beginning to this one…)
I started a new job recently (almost two years ago) and I work in downtown Opelika near the Lee County Courthouse. I work on the second floor so I can see a lot of the downtown area from my office. I guess from this vantage point things look quite a bit different. I have never really noticed what an awesome structure the Courthouse really is. The architecture is magnificent and the landscaping is beautiful. Opelika should be proud to house this building. The fountain and the park lend a beauty unmatched in any downtown area I’ve seen in a long time. Slowly but surely downtown buildings are being renovated and refurbished. This is a tremendous achievement considering in some towns these types of buildings are left to the elements and are slowly deteriorating to the point that they need to be torn down.
I’ve been doing a lot of walking through the downtown area lately and see a lot of potential. Sure, Tiger Town is not that far away and neither is Wal-Mart, but they can’t match the unique items you see at Southern Crossing or the shops in Cottage Walk or any of the shops downtown. And there are many restaurants opening up. The only thing that disappoints me is the hours they keep. I wish they were open on Saturdays and after 5 during the week because that’s when I shop. It’s really a shame there is no longer a grocery store near downtown because I could really get a lot done on my lunch hour.
So much has changed in Opelika. I’m glad it’s growing outside of the downtown area because that’s what makes a town stay alive, but at the same time I’m glad merchants and businessmen saw the beauty in downtown and chose not to abandon it. Many towns have and suffered for it. Opelika is capitalizing on its history instead of throwing it away and that speaks volumes to people who are visiting our city. I’m beginning to see more people come to the downtown area and I hope the failing economy doesn’t keep people away. If you haven’t been to the downtown area in awhile, I suggest you come to the park and then take a walk around downtown. Look at it through a visitor’s eyes. I think you will find, like I did, a new appreciation for your hometown. And if you don’t live in Opelika, I invite you to come share in our pride and you might even find a hidden treasure or two. And who knows? You may not want to leave.