The Downtown Let Down
Me So Cary is going out on a limb today. See, I love this town of Cary, North Carolina. It has everything our family could possibly need- great schools, great living, great people…but the “heart” of Cary is, well, kind of a let down. Yes, I’m talking about Downtown Cary.
It’s kind of like getting set up on a blind date with a man you know to be a pediatrician, who spends his free time preparing gourmet meals to share with the elderly while walking his rescue-dog (and picking up the poo). But when he comes to pick you up he’s two feet shorter than you. And you’re wearing flats. Is it really a big-deal? No. Are short men still hot? Yes. Would you still marry him? Yes. But is it a let down? Yes. (Ok, I really don’t mean to alienate shorter men. I’m unnaturally tall. You could do the same analogy in reverse with me being a let down if you prefer. I won’t mind.)
There are some fantastic things about downtown Cary. Things I love:
1. The Library, because I love books, reading, librarians, and story time.
2. The Cary Arts Center, because the renovation is gorgeous (just go inside and explore! it’s so beautiful) and the quality of programming is amazing.
3. The Cary Invasion, who play at the Herbert C Young Community Center, because attending their games are fun for the whole family,
I’m surrounded by tall men, affordable, and being a fan atic is so much fun. (Their season starts March 30!)
4. Ashworth Drugs‘ Soda Fountain, because I love hot dogs & ice cream and going to an actual soda fountain.
5. The Cary Depot, because it’s a beautiful rail station providing quick service to Charlotte & DC and my kid loves to see the trains chug through Downtown.
It just doesn’t give that “downtown” vibe that other towns offer. (Think Apex, NC). I know the Town of Cary agrees, as they are spending a lot of moolah and time trying to redevelop the downtown area. They’ve just released their designs for a new movie theater- the CaryCitizen.com did an article on it here.
From the latest survey by the Town of Cary, (which you can read about here), people agree that more shopping and more restaurants will help bring more people downtown.
I agree. But it’s more than that. Our downtown has great bones, great facilities, everything that a downtown needs…What I think it’s lacking though is the gawking factor.
Sure, shopping and eating bring people together, but we could do that anywhere. What makes these activities special is when we can watch other people doing the same thing (isn’t this why reality tv is so hot?). Just look at the popularity of festivals: we don’t actually need to buy another hand-woven basket or $10 organic cookie. We like to be around other people. We’re social animals; we want to gather and gawk. Right now, Cary Downtown just doesn’t support this.
How to make it better? Well, add more “people places”; places where people can sit outside and eat, or relax. Even the library could benefit- add a little garden out front, a fountain, more benches to encourage people outside. Revamping some of the businesses and parking areas will of course benefit as well.
It’s a big job, “revitalizing” our downtown. I think it’s totally worth it. I’m excited to see how the new movie theater turns out…the other renovations downtown are spectacular. I’m totally invested in this relationship with downtown Cary…but I really want to see what some growth hormones will do for our love life.
What do you think about Downtown Cary? Would you love it & leave it alone or give it a make-over?