It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of a deep recession like this one — high unemployment, losses in your business and your stock portfolio.
But a recession also has a way of forcing change, some of it long needed.
Nowhere are the winds of change blowing through our community more apparent than in downtown Nevada City.
Along Broad and Commercial streets, the recession is helping to forge new business relationships and reshape the mix of commerce.
•More businesses geared to locals opening in downtown. Too many residents complain that my hometown is too focused on a staid tourism model without enough unique elements or enough draws for locals.
That’s changing. Examples include the Spring Street Market, which you first read about here back in February, and the proposed California Organics market and cafe at the foot of Broad Street.
Set in a refurbished old building, with brick and stained glass, the Spring Street Market will offer fresh vegetable and fruit stands, fresh fish from Nevada City Seafood and most likely a bakery when it opens this summer.
I predict this once rundown building soon will become a prime gathering place for locals.
I also predict the “sustainable” movement will help make Nevada City more unique, such as the opening this summer of the “Sustainability Center” near Ike’s, which I wrote about recently.
As I reported, escrow just closed on the Broad Street Furnishings building, clearing the way for California Organics to open a restaurant and cafe later in the year. Much refurbuishing needs to occur in the meantime.
•Popular stores such as Eartheart, which carry unique items, moving to more visible locations downtown. Eartheart is expected to open in the Ghidotti Building this weekend, offering weekly soirees with music on the front porch.
The candy store on Broad Street that closed was barely vacant — you also read that here first — before a hard-working couple from Cascade Shores moved in and opened the Nevada City Chocolate Shoppe.
•Energetic people are meeting with one another. I saw Vice Mayor Reinette Senum having lunch with Nevada City Tech Center developer Robert Upton the other day.
The two might now always agree politically, but both are full of energy and fresh ideas.
While not yet on the drawing boards, I could envision a walkable, small, “smart” housing project at the Tech Center sometime down the road. Some of the residents could walk to work.
It may not have been what the developer envisioned in better economic times — it is called a Tech Center, after all — but you have to change with the times.
I see more people working together and becoming less interested in the sophomoric small-town political battles that sometimes divide the town.
Like any community, Nevada City can be resistant to change. But the recession has helped us rethink our old ways and focus on working together