If you drive down Elm street towards Sunset drive, or Wilson Ave, you see the Memorial Arena and on three sides of it, rough, mostly overgrown land. By far it isn’t the only plot of land that appears abandoned to the wilderness. While not exactly overgrown, the area between the Timkens Arena and Lyle Cook is also barren.
A visitor to St. Thomas would be able to draw only one conclusion from seeing such sites, that they are an indicator of better times in St. Thomas when a building or buildings stood there but now are left empty since the business that occupied the buildings left town. It cannot be said that they are a blot on the landscape of St. Thomas but they certainly aren’t a positive part of the city.
Obviously this land is owned by a person or company, yet haven’t chosen to either maintain, develop or sell it. There are probably many reasons as to why this is so, but regardless of reasons, the land is still unused and unsightly.
What can be done with it? That will depend on the owners and either the city or private citizens or companies because as with everything in life, there are plenty of options.
Option 1. The city or a private company negotiates with the owners of the land to rent it for a nominal fee, 10 dollars a month, which is 10 dollars a month more than it’s making right now, and then the city or private company tends to the land and makes it more attractive. Obviously the rental agreement would need a get out of clause for the owners for such times as when the land is bought by someone else. The positive would be the same for both parties, the land would look better, which is good for the city and good for potential buyers of the land.
Option 2. The owners of the land choose to look after the land themselves but using local companies to do so. Again the land looks good and local companies get the work.
Option 3. One of the land owners rents the land, again for a nominal fee, to one of the local interest groups in St. Thomas. A second dog park? A large community garden? A make shift skate park? There are plenty of groups that could make good use of the land.
These are just three options but each opens up possibilities and questions. It should be one of the priorities of the city and those who dwell within it that St. Thomas looks as attractive as possible. Think of it as keeping the house clean, just on a larger scale.