Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Speak Out Elgin!

A couple of days a go, I mentioned a story that staff writer Harry Hitzeman wrote in the Daily Herald. In it, he asked readers to stop criticizing Elgin. He was so adamant in his story, he told people to complain to him if they had something to say.

Well, he got his wish. As of this blog post, 26 comments have been posted to his story, many intense and all passionate. Some were actually removed because they violated the paper's rules for civilized discussion. Needless to say, Hitzeman struck a nerve.

The comments at the Daily Herald have subsided. And fortunately, it appears they've ended on a positive note. The one below is from someone with the user name Mencken. It says:

"I would like to thank the Daily Herald for sending a reporter to cover the "Walkabout: Theatre on Your Feet" event that Elgin hosted. This event is a very positive thing for Elgin, and for all the people who participated in it, even those from neighboring communities who may have spent money in Elgin stores. Through events like these communities grow, and when the people become active, communities flourish. It is a step in the right direction, and Elgin should do more like this. The best way to fight crime is for the people to develop a sense of place and ownership of their community, and be on the streets living and working, creating no dark corners for crime to thrive.

Illinois has a poorly designed sales tax where the city that collects it keeps it, thus pitting town vs town in sales tax wars. Thus strip malls everywhere. The Walkabout brings people from other towns into Elgin, they spend and the sales tax goes into the city coffers. With enough events, enough spending, more businesses opening, etc, the city might actually improve.
Thanks again to the Herald for covering this good news."

So what are your thoughts? Do we need more events like Walkabout to help downtown Elgin improve its image? Do events like these help to create safer neighborhoods?


Anonymous said...

Working the Elgin Walkabout has been a great experience. It's so wonderful to hear people actually excited about being downtown. I heard comments from people like "I never knew that was there", or "I'll definitely be visiting this place again". As my husband and I were leaving for the day,(about an hour and a half after the event was over)a group of people yelled out to us and thanked us for having had this event. They told us how much fun they had and that afterward they did some more exploring on their own!

Thanks Sean for coming up with this idea, and thank you City of Elgin for sponsoring it.

Tara Schuman - Janus Theatre

Anonymous said...

I attended yesterdays walkabout and it was wonderful. It could not have been any better. The organization was perfect. There is not one thing that I can think of that would have made it nicer. The wonderful volunteers that pulled this even off should be proud. This has been a great summer for Downtown Elgin and I think the Walkabout was the highlight of my Elgin Summer. Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Anonymous said...

considering Elgin's diverse community I was surprised there wasn't more ethnicity represented in this event. Not to mention the admission was not what you would call "middle class" entry fee. I did enjoy the acts, they were very clever and the idea of the walkabout is genius. With that said, I found it hard to step over the construction ways and over look the overall deadness of the downtown area. This would have been a more lively event if there were more things going on downtown period. Looks like way too many office spaces and not enough places to entertain.