Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson

I was pedaling around Greenfield the other day and it is easy to see the great strides the city has made in adding family homes and apartments; new businesses spring up and older businesses are upgrading appearances. Then I got to the main intersection of downtown and there on the northwest corner a once grand building now sits abandoned and in sad shape. If one has any sense of history, then looking at this structure is ample reason to be unhappy about its present state and wonders why the citizens don’t raise a hue and cry to see something positive done to bring the building back into use.

I realize I have mentioned this before in this column, but like a river to the sea time slowly goes by and time can mean so much, and in this case the time passed since that column has increased the unsightliness of a once fine structure. In this case time is not on the side of any building left standing long as normal maintenance done in occupied buildings is just not present and things get, frankly, cruddy looking.

If we use as example the King City High School Auditorium, we see that it cannot always be left to a municipal entity to see that such buildings are cared for; some 40 years ago it was a citizen-led movement that saved that wonderful edifice from destruction. It seems that whatever the blockage is that prevents any refurbishing and future use of the Beyer Building (or Ioppini Building or Economy Market, your choice) is out of the hands of city government, and so if any effort comes about it will have to be by a group of like-minded citizens to organize and seek remedies in the form of donations and available grants from all possible sources. But it can be done.

If the building is no longer viable as a business, then perhaps it would serve as a multipurpose facility housing a history of the city museum, a traveler and tourist center with space for the local chamber of commerce and service organizations outreaches. The upper floor apartments could be reconfigured into offices for local professional and nonprofit groups. I realize all of this would require many hours of dedicated effort on the part of numerous people and organizations, but in the long run it would add tremendously to the city’s downtown look and do wonders for its citizens.

***

As a bicycle rider I, like all riders, develop a fine sense of survival when it comes to certain dangers of the road; two early-developed instincts are to be very aware of drivers suddenly opening their doors when we are passing. This happened to me early one morning when I first returned to South Valley and I went down upon impact, and since that time I am acutely aware of the possibility and while there have been instances there has been no contact, thankfully.

Another developed sense awareness deals with where and what type of dog is likely to make a play for your tires, feet or legs. One “where” place for me is two blocks north on the street where I live, the dogs are the size of jackrabbits but lack the rabbit’s speed, so I know how to maneuver around them and outpace them very quickly. It is rare to come across loose dogs in King City and if one does, they are easily noticed in time, usually in or near its turf, stereotypically is never more that knee high and weighing about 15 pounds; these dogs give chase only for a few yards just to let you know who the boss is on the block.

I am happy to say I have never been bitten by a dog while biking, though there have been some close calls when surprise was on the dog’s side. Well, I got bit this morning but not astride a fast-moving conveyance as one would expect but while walking. An inauspicious beginning to a health walk cannot be better exemplified than that the walker ends up bleeding in the first 45 seconds of the walk. If such happens on any kind of regular basis when walking, which would be less a nuisance and more just downright unhealthy, then folks can expect to continue seeing me where I belong, on the seat of my bicycle where I stand a better chance of survival. I did, with urging and some hours later, go to Mee’s ER where proper cleansing and antibiotics were administered so all is well.

***

“When in the Course of Human Events …;” so begins a declarative epistle to the world written 248 years ago yesterday and made public two days later, on July 4, 1776. When writing about that momentous epistle, Benjamin Franklin called upon Americans (their new name) to annually celebrate “with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Bells, Bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

In keeping with Mr. Franklin’s admonitions, here is this: Tonight, you can see illuminations down at the SVF Stampede Grounds for the annual fireworks show; tomorrow, you can find a place on the sidewalks of Broadway and experience some pomp as a parade passes by; following the parade there are games, a car show and food down at San Lorenzo Park. So, ol’ Ben would be proud of us for keeping up the traditions. The fireworks show tonight kicks off, well, when it gets dark, but the gates open at 6 p.m. with $5 admission, kids under 5 years enter free.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. and runs from Second Street to Mildred Avenue. The announcer’s stand will be in front of Ace Hardware at the northwest corner of Broadway and North San Lorenzo Avenue, and it will be my great pleasure, and honor, to once again announce this wonderful annual event. Happy Fourth!

Take care. Peace.

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King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].

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