Outside Voices

Categories:  Opinion    Community
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 at 12:18 AM
Outside Voices by Matt Flowers

What Changes Do You Want to See in Erie in 2014?

Erie can be beautiful at times, whether the winter has transformed the city into a sweeping snow globe or the summer has bathed our humid streets in warmth, there is something to take away from it all. We have sunsets that make you pine for just one more glimpse of stunning color, we have a state park with sandy shores and lush forests that breathe life into our city each summer, and a music scene strong enough to keep us listening close every night of the week. And we have bars, more than a dozen public beaches, concert venues, stadiums, museums, and a strong art scene, and every other element a thriving city needs.

Yet somehow, Erie doesn’t always appear to be flourishing.

Some aspects of our past year were devastating, notably GE Transportation’s layoffs, Millcreek Township School District’s finances falling into a funk, countless instances of gun violence, and Mayor Joe Sinnott's pride in announcing that Bret Michaels would be playing CelebrateErie this summer. 

All this isn’t to say our city is falling apart; it’s only to point out some examples of what our home could benefit from, either changing or reformulating. Consider it a New Year’s resolution for our stomping grounds, the place where we live our lives and our families reside. There is nothing wrong with talking out the city’s flaws, brainstorming for the coming year, taking in a new perspective, or charting a new direction; because if we don’t do a little weeding, how can our city fully flourish?

I hear people planting the seed all the time: “You know what ‘they’ should do here?” or “you know what this city needs?” But just like a garden planted in shade that will never bloom, a lot of these ideas go unheard, never seeing the light of day.

So in this issue, we’re looking outside to fix what’s within by cranking up the volume on your solutions and allowing those Outside Voices to ring in the New Year.

Dennis Michalski: [I want] a new Mayor, but 2014 isn’t an election year. I’d like to see our Mayor be a little more focused on what is bothering the city right now instead of being laid back; he needs to take a more active role, a leading role. He always seems to be laying back, and when something comes up, he kind of comes on later. He should be at the forefront of some of the activities and some of the changes that are going on in the city.

Ted Wisinski: Culturally speaking, in the coming year in Erie, I’d really like to see a lot of the efforts go towards independent, nonprofit organizations coming together, getting a lot more community involvement out of everybody, and consolidating the general efforts. I know a lot of people do a lot for fundraising around town, and that’s a highlight of – specifically – the downtown scene. I’ve seen a lot of that during the holiday time and I’d like to see more of that.

Nimarjit Singh: I see there is a lot of good culture here; there are a lot of good breweries here, and wineries, and I think Erie should capitalize on that. Erie is one of those towns where you can be drinking in public [on the streets and sidewalks]. That can get a lot of tourists into the area, which would be good economically for Erie… You got a great town, but it would be good having people come in from outside the area to try out the good beer and good wine.

Hannah Ross: I’ve lived here my entire life, and unfortunately a lot of the times I’ve gone out to eat, it’s been at a chain restaurant. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve expanded and gone to more local places, and I always have a more enjoyable experience there. Big businesses focus more on profit, whereas local businesses foster a sense of community and focus on the person. Therefore, in 2014, I want Erie to focus more on local businesses than big businesses.

Tags: erie, 2014

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