Saturday, December 08, 2007

There’s more than meets the eye downtown

As I’ve been walking the streets of downtown Elgin over the past two months as the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s new director, two things have become very apparent.

Number one: I really need to get some comfortable shoes. And number two: Downtown Elgin is a victim of that nasty little fallacy called the sweeping generalization.

I first learned about sweeping generalizations in Helen Gudeman’s English class at Larsen Middle School. A sweeping generalization is an error of omission that assumes what is true under certain conditions must be true under all conditions.

For example, the statement “all birds have wings so all birds can fly.” Well, that sweeping generalization doesn’t account for those poor little land bound birds like the penguin and the emu.

Okay, here’s another one: I don’t go to Downtown Elgin because there is nothing there for me.

That may have been true five years ago, but it certainly isn’t true now. There are more restaurants, retail, professional services, residents and events down here than there have been in a long time. And there are more coming.

So, I challenge you to sweep those generalizations under the rug and support downtown revitalization by doing these five things:

(1) Have lunch or dinner downtown once a month.
The holidays are a great time to bring out of town friends and family downtown to experience our unique and charming restaurants. They can eat at a Chili’s in any city, but they can only at Elgin Public House in Downtown Elgin.

(2) Give the businesses a chance to change your mind.
For your next haircut, or insurance quote, or picture to be framed, try our downtown merchants. I can tell you from personal experience that it is really rewarding to support local, independently owned businesses. You are personally helping someone to succeed and you’ll get that personal touch that is often missing at the big chains.

(3) Stay informed.
DNA sends an email blast every Thursday that has the top ten things happening in downtown Elgin that week. And I’ll tell you, it’s hard to choose only ten. You can sign up for the e-blast on our website.

(4) Volunteer
We are having an open call for people interested in volunteering on Thursday, December 13 at 8:30am at the DNA office in the Elgin Tower Building. Our volunteers are directly involved with projects that promote, beautify and revitalize downtown. Stop by or give me a call to talk about our volunteer opportunities.

And, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t say…

(5) Become a member or a sponsor of DNA.
You’ll make great personal and professional contacts and your sponsorship dollars will be a smart investment. You can play a direct role in revitalizing downtown by partnering with us.

So, are you with me? Good. I’ll see you downtown. And don’t laugh at my gym shoes and business suit. It’s a downtown thing.


laura said...

DNA sends an email blast every Thursday that has the top ten things happening in downtown Elgin that week

Could I be so bold as to request that you post that list on the blog as well?

I check the blog every day for new posts (it's on my shortcut toolbar!) and I find that I don't read email newsletters like I used to (they just sit there until I finally delete them). It would be most helpful and I think it can only help get the Downtown Elgin voice out in even more venues.

Thanks for your consideration!

Steve Munson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Munson said...

Great idea. We'll look at it for 2008.