When I look across the street at the empty Dowdy and William’s Hardware stores I have mixed feelings. The first is sadness and the second is fond nostalgia. Growing up I remember entering Dowdy’s and being engulfed by the universally loved smell of leather. My sister, Katie, and I would go there to buy jeans and tops always being greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Dowdy or their son, Craig Dowdy. Sometimes Issac Benitez would offer to help us. I remember we thought he looked like a Latin Prince and he acted in the Atascosa Community Theater.
I bought my first pair of boots for an event at the Cowboy Homecoming Rodeo. I purchased my second pair there while in college. The boots were bright red and not only graced my feet but all three of my college roommates.
I took my niece, Katherine Wilkerson, there to buy one of her first pair of boots also red. She wore these religiously winter, spring, summer and fall from the age of three until she entered Pleasanton Elementary School in first grade. She also pulled one her many shenanigans on me in Dowdy’s by flinging open the wooden door for all the world to see me as I was half-way through pulling up a potential new pair of blue jeans.
I also think of the Dowdy grandchildren, Sarah and Rebecca, whom I taught swimming lessons to in my back yard. I now see Sarah at every PISD Superintendent Community Conversation which I urge everyone to attend. Dr. Clinesmith is a forward thinking, open and honest communicator who will answer any question you throw her way. I feel confident that she is going to take PISD to new levels of excellence. Do not miss her next conversation on Wednesday, April 18th at the PISD administration building. You will leave that meeting knowing that she is just the right person to make that happen.
But, back to 100 Main Street where I also frequented William’s Hardware. Home Depot and Lowes had nothing on this small, but handy hardware store. Walking in the door you would immediately be asked if you needed assistance and were taken to the various isles for nuts, bolts, saws and sandpaper. A little bit different experience than wandering around lost in a today’s cavernous hardware stores where you can hear your cries for help echo into the netherlands.
When I envision the new Community Center/Library/ Plaza, I see a revived downtown that is not dying but coming alive. A place that offers a rich and rewarding resource for everyone from the very young to the very old. I see diverse groups of people taking advantage of its prominent placement downtown. This dynamic offering will as Sue Samsel said in her letter to the editor replace a road whose time has come and gone.
I see travelers passing through a Pleasanton that is inviting enough for them to stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of our great restaurants. I see families looking for a new place to live choosing Pleasanton because of the great community resources we provide to our tax payers.
The chance that new businesses will move into Dowdy’s or William’s Hardware are slim to none leaving our downtown looking abandoned. But the new offerings will do just the opposite it will draw our citizens out and I cannot imagine that the overall impact will help to shape a Pleasanton that has a stronger dedication to community.
The need for a new library that is centrally located is critical. Our current library has a capacity of 24 which prevents and deprives our citizens of the opportunity to take part in the vast programs recommended by the National Library Association for young and old alike. To hold any of these programs, the library has to shut down the computer room which is a vital resource to patrons.
Last night around 10:00 PM, seven vehicles were parked askew on 100 Main Street. Passengers were out of their cars standing in the street with music blaring. Not a pretty sight.
If you are not registered to vote, please go to the Pleasanton Public Library and take literally minutes to fill out the quick and easy form that is free to mail. But, do this before the final deadline of April 13th. Then go to vote for Initiative #1 and Initiative #2 on May 12th.