The City of Easton has been in revitalization mode for the past 40 years. The techniques and ideas so far have failed to increase our quality of life. Much of the energy has been invested in caring for buildings instead of caring for people.
The decline of our quality of life has resulted in the decline of our consumer market. Many of our residents have left the problems of the city for the quiet of the suburbs. Many left not because they chose the suburbs over City life, but because they were forced out by an environment no longer conducive to the pursuits of happiness.
We have created many artificial individual attractions, based on the hopes that an influx of tourism would solve our problems. Some of the more expensive projects include The Two Rivers Landing, The State Theater, and The Bachmann Publick House. These projects together cost the taxpayers and private contributors millions of dollars, but our overall economy and quality of life has at best remained stagnant.
This is flawed methodology, yet we continue to promote efforts that follow the same model. We keep trying to artificially reinvigorate businesses in order to excite the economy. The result is a short term rapid growth followed by decline and failure. It’s like entering a sprinter in a marathon. When the starter pistol sounds the sprinter quickly takes off and pulls ahead; but as the race progresses the runner begins to tire, loses energy, and starts to fall behind. We need to stop funding the sprinter and invest more in the marathon. We are continuously falling behind. We need promote the basics; clean and safe, the foundations of any vibrant City. Without a solid foundation anything we build will be in danger of collapse.
When I say we are at fault I mean all of us. We have made mistake after mistake and we have failed to recognize why. We all have had personal agendas which we have put ahead of the systemic problems; we have worried more about supporting self-centered interests (which individually mean nothing) instead of pulling our energy and resources together to fix the rot and deterioration that prevents us from realizing our wishes and dreams.
We need to rethink the way we expend our resources, we need to stop funding individual projects. The focus must be on shared resources that keep our city clean, safe, and competitive. We must clean our streets, rid our city of those who want to use it to cultivate illegal businesses, we must educate or punish those who break the rules of society and negatively effect our quality of life, we must ask every property owner to enhance the appearance of their properties, or we must enforce the codes that regulate them without tolerance. And we must invest in community infrastructure that benefits everyone.
It is time to agree on a new action plan, to stop advancing our individual agendas, and to bolster a solid foundation to build our wishes and dreams upon, only then will we thrive.