Pretend you are a motorist on I-5 who approaches the Patterson exit. Patterson is a community you’ve either never heard of or at least have never visited.
You need gas, or maybe a meal. Or possibly an overnight stay. From the freeway you spot the signs of businesses that will fulfill your needs. You take the exit. You are immediately in the city of Patterson.
This must be it, you tell yourself. To the east you spot some huge warehouses. Beyond that it looks like houses. Probably more of Patterson, you assume, and you would be correct.
Nowhere are you informed that a community of 20,000 – with a uniquely designed downtown with its museum, four banks, two auto agencies, and other businesses, as well as a major shopping center – is only a couple of miles away.
You might have other needs besides gas, food and lodging. But nowhere do you see a sign informing you that Wal-Mart, CVS, Save Mart, Taco Bell, Walgreen’s, McDonald’s, Baskin-Robbins and a wide variety of retail stores is less than five minutes away.
How we overlook opportunities. How we fail to promote ourselves with even the simplest of projects.
I’ve always been envious of the city of Oakdale, which is nearly identical in population to Patterson. Oakdale rakes in what they call “drop-off dollars” – sales receipts generated by motorists passing through that community on their way to and from the hill country.
Yet Oakdale has a traffic problem. Its downtown is choked by these same motorists passing through on Highway 108. A highway bypass of Oakdale has long been considered, one that would eliminate its downtown from the stranglehold of traffic, just as the problem has been solved in Sonora.
Patterson doesn’t have that problem. All of our community’s “drop-off dollars” are left at our businesses up on the freeway. Only a few short years ago, we didn’t have the well-known chain stores that would provide such a draw. Now we do.
Patterson would benefit from having “drop-off dollars” if we would only have the gumption to help ourselves to them. An average of 30,000 vehicles a day passing by on I-5 should be incentive enough to invite them into town.
It’s time to get moving. Sitting on our collective duffs won’t get it done.
THIS AND THAT
While at our house, where we debate just where to plant our new crape myrtle tree, a neighbor reports that someone stole a small pomegranate tree in its pot from in front of their house. Do we have to start erecting electric fences around our young trees?
Speaking of thievery, a while back, a new door mat valued at $12 was pilfered from the east porch of our downtown museum. A matching mat remains (as of last weekend) on the museum’s west porch. Glue is being considered.
The addition of a graphic on our monthly city utility bills is very useful. Starting early this year, our water usage has been compared with a 12-month period of a year ago. New software made the info possible. Kudos to City Hall.
FOR THE SPORTS FAN
Professional baseball should adopt the Distraction Rule.
No orange shoes. Baseball shoes are traditionally black. Orange is distracting.
No diamond earrings over two carets (in each ear) for the same reason.
Observation: National League batters become more distracted than their counterparts in the American League. Orange shoes and sparkling earrings are why the NL was shut out in last week’s All-Star game.
And by the way, am I the only one who thinks many of those fans who line the roadway during the Tour de France are crazy, stupid and probably inebriated?
AND FINALLY …
A quote to remember:
“Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.” – Doug Larson, British track star, 1902-81
Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at email@example.com