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Letter: Downtown is a great asset for Hastings

To the editor,

I have a sneaking suspicion you printed Laura Seuss’s letter last week to get a reaction.

She suggests bulldozing our “crumbling” downtown and starting over by building something like The Village on 110 in Mendota Heights. It’s a homogenized development you can find anywhere, with shops you can find anywhere— Caribou, Cold Stone, Fantastic Sam’s, Verizon. Calling it a village doesn’t make it one. 

I wonder why Ms. Seuss bought a house in east Hastings if this is what she thinks of our historic part of town. We bought a 1927 house in east Hastings specifically to be in an area with a “soul,” not a suburban tract house. Cities that facade-omized their historic downtowns in the past have regretted it and spent plenty to undo their “updates.”

It says something that there are so few vacant storefronts on Main Street after some hard years with the economy and bridge construction. The Carousel and La Tee Dah have brought fun options in women’s clothing. I’d love to see another home decor shop or two like Hudson’s main street has. Sure, I miss walking to Spiral Natural Foods, but their new place is even better.

The Mississippi Belle building finally has another restaurant coming. If someone puts in an elevator to the banquet room upstairs at the former RJ’s, our grandmothers could have some memorable times there at wedding receptions. 

I have great hopes for the Hudson Manufacturing building — a center for the arts, a place to sit and have a coffee or listen to music by the river would be wonderful. The Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council website is asking for your input.

Across from the Hudson building, new owners are going to restore the octagon house that is as old as our state. 

We were recently admiring Elk River’s riverside amphitheater and saying Hastings should do something like that. Voila, there it was in the Star Gazette, in the city plans for the Riverfront Renaissance. Is this a great town or what?