Town founder T.W. Patterson himself approved the design of the two wide circular streets, Plaza and El Circulo, as well as the downtown parks, which early on were sparklingly landscaped.
But other than occasional lip service by our elected officials about “preserving our historic downtown,” nothing much happens.
Money is usually cited as the main obstacle, but ahead of the dollar sign, I’d place a well-thought-out plan. We simply don’t have one that would turn downtown Patterson into something really special.
Some upgrading progress was made a few years ago, and it proved to be expensive. Brick crosswalks, a wrought-iron fence in the parks along Highway 33 and a bit of street landscaping cost some big bucks for what was accomplished. Later, roundabouts were added, more to control traffic than to beautify. However, I give the roundabouts an A-plus, for I like ’em.
Now that redevelopment funding has disappeared, the opportunity to push a major downtown renovation project has disappeared. Or has it?
Patterson’s city finances appear to be reasonably healthy at a time when many California municipalities are suffering. And with Walmart and Amazon construction in high gear, the city’s coffers are expected to grow accordingly.
Now might be the time to come up with a downtown plan that could really turn Patterson into a destination city. That would require a lively business center that would accommodate unique specialty shops of interest to out-of-towners. What is a definite is that big stores will locate here in our new shopping center.
For 100 years, this community has never really thought of itself as anything but an agricultural town. That has been our strength, and we could capitalize on the ag products that are grown here.
At the moment, our downtown is anchored by four banks and city government offices, including our police and fire departments. We need to start thinking outside the box and analyze the potential we have in our unique business district. We could make it very special.
Hopefully, this process can begin locally. Hiring still another set of expensive consultants to tell us what we should do is not what’s needed. Let’s get our local heads together and discuss the possibilities. We have plenty of talent in Patterson. Let’s use it.
The entire community would benefit.
It has been a few months since we last published our 90-plus list of those residing on the West Side between Crows Landing and Vernalis who have rolled over their 90th birthdays, plus a few longtime area residents who no longer reside here.
Six of these are centenarians, and their dates of birth are indicated. Two of these have birthdays in the first half of August. Fast Talk asks readers for corrections or additions to the list.
Lee Aiello, Margaret Alberta, Marie Archer, John V. Azevedo, Joyce Barfuss, Vera Bettencourt, Winnie Bronzan, Emil Burch, Aileen Cabral (March 20, 1911), Antoinette Carcello;
Marcel Chapuis, Lena Cirrincione, Florence Perry Cogswell (April 3, 1912), Grace Cox, Stan Cox, Bertha Criswell (August 4, 1909), Sylvia Dennis, Nadine Dompe, Thelma Fitzsimmons, Agnes Friedrich;
Aurora Garcia, Nita Goetz, Raymond Graff, Esther Hamilton, Lawrence Harrison (Aug. 13, 1911), Dora Gustafson Hauert, Eleanor Holtzman, Violet Housewright, Wayne Johnson, Geneva Kazda;
Velma Klein, Evelyn Kolding, Laurence Kolding, Kay Krause, Lucille Kvech, Helen Maring (Sept. 9, 1910), Bessie Martin, Lois McBride, Jack McConnell, Ruby McNutt;
Ruby Miller, Nelda Schut Mitchell, Adelina Montoya, Ken Nordell, Josefa Esquivel Ochoa, Luis Ochoa Puga, Victoria Orozco, Seth “Tex” Pace, Manuel Paiva, Geraldine Parker;
Danny Perez, Dorothy Reis, MaeBelle Rogers, Bea Rose, Evelyn Rusk (March 8, 1910), Rosa Stehli, Joaquin “Jack” Tabar, Mary Tosti, Justin A. Traina;
Frances Tyler, Clyde Weekly, Dorothy Wiesendanger (May 7, 1910), Katie Williams, Mitsuye Yamamoto.
That makes 65. Any more?
Email has provided me with more questions for which I have no answers. To wit:
What disease did cured ham actually have?
Why is it that people say they “slept like a baby” when babies wake up every two hours?
Can you cry underwater?
How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?
FOR THE SPORTS FAN
Isn’t it amazing what computers have done for Major League Baseball. The sportscasters can give us an unlimited number of stats, such as Derek Jeter’s lifetime batting average on Labor Day.
Here’s a good quote to end the week, from none other than Joe Namath:
“Until I was 13, I thought my name was Shut Up.”