Thursday, April 29, 2004

Is Parking Really a Problem?

Dear Editor,

My business, Rock Hill Bakehouse Café, has just finished its first full week of business in Glens Falls (in the old Triads building) and it has been fantastic! I wish to thank both of our hometown newspapers (and TV8, as well) for the wonderful coverage we’ve received.

After this first week, I have been left with a deep desire to work on re-establishing a shopping and restaurant district in downtown Glens Falls. Small towns all over the country have them. They are a destination where people come to shop, to eat and to be entertained. There are no “stars” in these districts. All choices are truly unique. Nothing is mediocre. Everything is exceptional. These districts become destination points for connoisseurs of quality items, food, wine, theater and clothing.

It seems that Glens Falls worries about giving up much-needed sales tax revenue to Queensbury. The right answer to this problem seems obvious. Make sure that downtown stays high quality and niche market. Why not make revenue from one $295 dollar handmade American dress instead of ten cheaply-made $20 dollar dresses at a mall franchise? We already have some truly unique businesses. We have wonderful music and theatre. And thanks to Charley Wood we’ll soon have an amazing venue to match it. We just need to keep setting the bar higher; better food, better entertainment, better service until we are considered “the” place for upstate residents tired of being bilked to go for a wonderful afternoon or evening out.

What we DON’T need is to continue focusing on (and being hysterical about) parking. I have yet to have trouble finding parking downtown, in fifteen years of living here. I have yet to walk more than a block and a half to get to any function, including sold-out Icehawks games and Taste of the North Country. I think we can all agree that people who can’t walk a block and a half are being ridiculously lazy, right? Do we really care about these lazy peoples’ needs so much that we are going to forego real growth and gentrification in favor of “parking hysteria”? Can’t we, as a community, focus our efforts on growth and spend every available dollar and morsel of energy we have attracting more new small businesses to town?

Matt Funiciello


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