In Mr. Baker’s editorial last Saturday, he asked a very valid question – “Why Can’t We Have This in Maysville?”
If you allow a change from “Can’t” to “Don’t,” it might create a stronger focus.
All wished-for desires require two things at a minimum – a market, or positively defined need, and, unless publicly funded, financing that will produce a profit.
As my late uncle, John N Browning, would say, “The priceless ingredient in every transaction is the profit.”
Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, my wife and I invested in four businesses here, three of them in the. central business district. Due to poor marketing and research, and lack of sales or poor cost control, or stronger competition, all closed down. We couldn’t blame the Internet or financing – we just couldn’t build sales and make a profit.
This is why businesses, such as Champion Media and Meadowview Regional Hospital exist – to make a profit. Insufficient or no profits are probably at least part of why Emerson, Carnation, January & Wood, The shoe factory, Merz’s, Sears, et al, and numerous other small businesses no longer function here.
We’re lucky to have acquired new businesses here. But I keep hearing repeated horror stories about huge numbers of job applicants failing drug tests. Are we doing a anything about that, if true?
About Maysville’s facilities, or lack thereof, I have a question or two that you raise in my mind…
1. What do we know about our “Downtown” population?
2. How many people actually live between the flood wall and the north side of 5th St. and between Rotary Park and the east side of Short St.?
3. Do we have any idea of average family income, disposable income, average individual income of the populace of that area?
4. Of the multi-story buildings in that area, how many have working personnel elevators to all floors?
Of those that do not, how many such structures are constructed so that up-to-date elevators can be installed therein?
If such elevators existed, the buildings brought completely up to code with modern plumbing and kitchen facilities, and heating/air conditioning, what would be the minimal square foot apartment rentals have to be to make the investment worthwhile? Could many of today’s downtown residents afford such an apartment?
How many of those buildings have easy, safe, and clean access to roofs that could physically support a rooftop bar?
Do the businesses up and down Market Street provide attractive shopping and services?
Are the sidewalks and bricked streets kept clean?
(As soon as you can, take a walk up and down both sides of Market St between McDonald Parkway and Third Street Note the cigarette butts in front of businesses and trash on sidewalks – not very appealing to the visitors directed by Museum staff to Syleetos, Chandler’s, Delite’s and the French Quarter.)
Is the old Merz Brothers department store clean from mold and musty odors? Is it safe to spend time in there?
Who’s to provide the leadership to get answers?
I’m sure there are other valid questions.
I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. Do my friends Owen McNeill, Mayor Cotterill, City Manager Wallingford, or Mesdames Reece and Holleran have answers? Our downtown has had a lot of money invested in it. But I was trained to look for problems, and then find solutions for them. Are we digging into reasons why Maysville isn’t more attractive? Or, are we continuing to sell a downtown that still needs a lot of investment and improvement for a variety of reasons?
I suspect some answers might lead to reasons why we don’t have facilities of the type you mention, but they won’t tell you why we can’t.
Louis N. Browning