I agree with Mr. Baumgardners LTE recognizing and appreciating the efforts of everyone involved in getting the Santa House in downtown Clearfield. I also have fond childhood memories of seeing Santa every year, and I believe keeping history and heritage in the hearts of its residents adds to the pride and success of our town.
My fondest Christmas memory, however, came when I was a young teenager. I remember walking from my home on the west side, with overwhelming feelings of peace as giant snowflakes tenderly filled the air, and I headed across the bridge to the downtown merchants. It was a time that I reflected, with gratefulness, about my beloved friends and family. I proudly had months of saved allowance in my pocket as I headed downtown to find the perfect gifts. These gifts weren’t necessarily extravagant, but every heart-felt thought went into choosing them. I remember being surrounded by Christmas music, friendly faces, and an overwhelming spirit of Christmas. I would see items that were too expensive for a child my age and thought, “I’ll be back when I am old enough to work and when I have more money.”
Unfortunately, soon thereafter, many stores went away. I can’t help but to think that people who remember the days of Leitzingers, Brody’s, Widmanns, McCrorys, Murphys, The Clearfield Diner, and Best Jewelers (and others I have missed), also feel that these merchants were positive additions to our downtown. It is true that economic hardships, the decline of the “five and dime”, and the increased competition against specialty stores have all affected the shopping opportunities in the downtown. I applaud the remaining merchants that have worked hard and made a great many sacrifices to maintain downtown shopping opportunities.
I feel that it is important to not only remember our downtown heritage, but to pursue it when planning for the future. Whether it be organized plans by the downtown merchants to have specific “discount days,” fairs and activities throughout the year to attract customers, or increased efforts by Main Street and Downtown Revitalization groups to focus on specific needs and barriers facing downtown merchants, or high quality advertising geared towards residents in addition to tourists, or consideration of the factors that affect high quality residential and commercial rentals; these matters need to be addressed when we think about the history and heritage of Downtown Clearfield, and how we will rekindle memories for the old, and spark new ones for the young.
I hope that everyone will complete a survey and ask others to participate so that the groups involved in revitalization and future planning will gain a better understanding of public perceptions and problems that are occurring downtown. This survey can be found at: http://www.padowntown.org/surveys.
A select few cannot bring success to our downtown, without understanding the needs of the citizens and the entire community. Let’s join forces and share our opinions, so they can make good choices for a better tomorrow.
Clearfield Borough resident