Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Moving Days in Middletown


Middletown schools open tomorrow (Thursday), like it or not. I visited the spacious guidance office at the new Middletown High today to take care of some paperwork, and found an air of cheerful and slightly insane activity. As my son's guidance counselor tapped out his schedule changes, a friendly carpenter stopped by to install some missing parts on the window frame. Good luck to all the students and staff in their brand-spanking-new school!

There's another move in progress in town -- It's Only Natural Market has closed their store at 386 Main Street, and will spend the next few weeks setting up shop at the new building at 575 Main, where the old Tine's Garage and historic Methodist church used to stand. The new site is a 3-story commercial building, and other than the Police Station that was built in the mid-1990's, I think it's the best-looking building that's been built on Main Street in a long time.

There was lots of controversy when the building design first came out, because it called for the demolition of the old church, and eventually a compromise was struck to relocate the church to Rapallo Avenue for use as subsidized apartments run by Nehemiah Housing and Hartford's Broad Park Corporation. Another design conflict centered around the driveway which crosses the Main Street sidewalk -- it's a shame that it wasn't eliminated, since it makes the pedestrian experience less ideal.

I know it's a minority opinion that I hold on this topic, but personally, I was most upset about the demolition of the old Tine's Garage, a classic piece of mid-20th century roadside architecture, curves and tile, and I always harbored a secret wish that it would someday become the "Zippy the Pinhead" Hall of Fame and Memorial Hot Dog Stand, or at least a really funky cafe. Alas, I waited too long to honor Zippy as our own hometown hero (ok, so Zippy is actually from Higganum, but close enough), and Middletown lost the opportunity for a slam-dunk tourist attraction right on Main Street.

But I digress.

It's Only Natural Market will re-open (along with the only downtown post office) on September 15th. Until then, Middletowners can shop without shame at a certain unnamed "natural foods" chain store in Glastonbury and West Hartford, but I hope to see you all back on Main Street once ION re-opens.

Remember, all the cool people shop local.

1 comment:

David Bauer said...

I'm getting some disturbing comments from MHS students and their parents concerning the condition of the new MHS. Would the "Eye" be interested in taking a look at how serious the glitches are?