My students and I are involved in a project to help renew the look of downtown La Salle with our graphic design skills and are presenting our designs on Wednesday. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that in order to fill all of the empty building is La Salle you need to make the town look more appealing. Sweep the sidewalks and streets, pick up cigarette butts and pigeon droppings. Even the trash containers need a make over. So, armed with skills in Photoshop, my students added murals to the exposed brick walls of empty buildings, cleaned up the dirty garbage containers, added some life size painted mules (like the COWS in Chicago), planted flowers in the neglected plots and added flower baskets to the downtown lights. First impressions are so critical. The young men and women in my class want to walk downtown and have coffee, go to the bookstore, take yoga lessons, have dinner at the Thai restaurant and buy something nice from the antique/second hand shop. Where are all these shops? They could be downtown. And, the artists of the community need a place to create and exhibit their work. Surely there is an empty building that could accommodate our needs.
Oh, and one more thing. We are a few days from "Miracle on First Street", an event designed to draw more people to the downtown area during the Christmas holidays. There is not one single Christmas light in the area. It is as dark as can be. Some merchants have decorated but that is sporadic. Not one decoration hung on the light posts nor sign that signals the event. Yeah, that's festive. As one of my friends said who has a successful business in the downtown area..."Let's rent a helicopter and buy 10,000 pounds of bulk glitter and drop it over the town."
Some of us "believe in La Salle" but some of us will " be leaving La Salle"!