For this day 13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, let me tell you a little bit about the community in upstate New York I live near.
Johnson City was known at one time as the Home of the Square Deal, thanks to George F. Johnson and the Johnson family of Endicott-Johnson
shoes. But that was then and this is now.
Many of those shoe factories
have been torn down. The ones left are in ruins, inhabited by derelicts.
Downtown Johnson City, to be blunt, is depressed. It may be slowly
making its way back from ruin but it is not a place I would recommend to
any out of town visitors. I hope one day that will be different.
George F. Johnson would not have been happy.
Ironic that in 2009 I blogged about the possible dissolution of Johnson City. The voters voted that November, and Johnson City remained in existence.
But now, Johnson City has appeared on a list of the 10 most dangerous cities in the state of New York.
I have met so many people who have lost jobs in the last year, or are in
danger of losing jobs. Just one example: I know the mother of someone
whose husband is currently looking for work. Her daughter is a
housewife with three children, the fourth one on the way. It's not a
good situation, to put it mildly.
Others try to cobble together part time jobs while going back to school.
And now, our mall, which has lost three of its four anchor stores in the past three years, wants its taxes reduced dramatically. Who will take up the slack if they win?
We, the residents, will take up that slack.
These are not happy times for many.
Can Johnson City be saved? Once again, the future is uncertain. And while I try to keep my optimism up, I have to admit that it is hard, sometimes, to keep the faith.
Recently, the State University of New York opened a pharmacy school in part of that depressed area. We can only hope that will spark a revival.