Saturday, September 16, 2006

College Town

The local newspaper had an article headlined, "Is Wilkes-Barre Becoming A College Town?" Well, we've had two of them here since 1946; one, a block north of Public Square; the other, a block south. So, yes, I think when you have several thousand college students pretty much around the downtown area for the past sixty years, the chances are that Wilkes-Barre just might be headed that way. Or we could wait another twenty-five years just to make sure.

There's been a history of anti-college sentiment around here. One newspaper, fortunately out of business now, referred to the students as "little darlings," and felt the professors should be paid for the actual number of minutes they were in the classroom and no more. If a prof wanted to prepare a class or correct papers and tests, that should be done "off the clock" and not on company time.

The former mayor could not have done more to alienate the students. Well, perhaps he could have turned on fire sirens outside the dorm windows every morning and then given the finger to the students; short of that, he really went out of his way to anger them.

The current mayor has worked hard to bring the colleges and the city together. He has not given the store away, but recognizes that the schools bring in a lot of money to the city each year, one way or another, and the future is better when all work together.

All? Yup; find another college bookstore that's run cooperatively for the two schools, is located downtown, run by a major chain (B&N) with a coffee lounge (Starbucks) inside, and open to the general public as well.

The dead or dying downtown between the schools is being refitted in a way that will appeal to entertainment-minded students. We haven't had much of that in this city, for them or adults. Watch what happens when people notice that the students' currency has the same pictures of dead presidents as does theirs. Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson ... welcome to downtown.


Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

Well now, looky here.the ex-mayor calling college kids ''little darlings''.......H-mmm, with such thinking as this, no wonder W-B produced such a huge crop of coal miners!

Your downtown area is becoming a neat place for people with gainful employment to hang out in, instead of the malls. Unbeknownst to you, because I cannot trace you there, I enjoy a coffee and a bagel at that place on the Circle across the street from Dumpin' Donuts. Your farmer's market is nice and there is lot going on down there. The architecture is really something and it would be a shame to waste all that beauty by leaving it for the pigeon population. I believe downtown has a future.

September 16, 2006 6:35 AM  
Anonymous MAD Drummer said...

Does anyone remember the Purple Haze or The Naked Grape...early centers for young entertainment-minded youth that had to tolerate regular code enforcement raids that eventually forced them to close. American Asfault Blues Band, 8th Street Bridge, North American Bear, The Whazoos, Sons of Beethoven et al...ironic they had the kids eating in the palm of their hands and hated it. Oh well, maybe the kids that got chased away are running things now...lets hope they remember. Bring back the raft races!

September 17, 2006 12:19 AM  

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