Scottie Hart: A closed Mill Street will be tough on seniors
Darryl Berkheimer’s Aug. 28 column, “Mill St. trims convenience,” addresses the new downtown Grass Valley plaza realistically, citing relevant statistics and trends, not just sharing another opinion.
Notably, he refers to the “three main factors in marketing”: price, convenience and service. The new downtown significantly impacts convenience for me.
I am one of the women Berky mentions: I am an enthusiastic recreational shopper. There are several stores on Mill Street where I actively enjoy shopping and quite a few more I consider a fun browse. Add lunch with a friend, and woo-hoo! In the past 10 years or so, it has also become a good place to take visitors who enjoy shopping as much as I do.
I love our downtown. I want it to thrive. Yes, I like the look of a pedestrian area. Yes, I like the sense of a gathering space. Yes, a chance to sit outside and people watch while enjoying a Lazy Dog ice cream is delightful.
Yet my husband is no longer able to walk comfortably from a distant parking space to the “husband chair” in a store I want to visit. I, myself, am a senior with decreasing mobility. A long hike (uphill both ways!) from parking is not attractive. I am increasingly likely, for instance, to look for a new mixmaster on-line rather than trek to Tess’ Kitchen Store. I will settle for grocery-store balsamic at Raley’s rather than make an expedition to The Olive Groove. I will miss my occasional chats with Dave at William’s Stationery. A life without ArtWorks feels sadly diminished.
After a decades-long history with Mill Street, downtown is no longer my first shopping choice. I grieve the loss in my life of many special places there, functionally unavailable to me because the most accessible parking no longer exists.
Is anyone listening? Is anyone considering Berky’s suggestions for improving convenience in downtown Grass Valley? What other creative possibilities can we imagine together? Can I be hopeful?
Meanwhile, with genuine regret, my visits to Mill Street have slowed significantly.
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