The following is written by board member MaCleod Carre in his own words: “Even though I grew up in a small town (like Vineland ) in Ohio, I have lived the majority of my life in big cities—first New York City and then Los Angeles where I experienced urban renewal right where I lived.
“I lived in Chelsea in New York when it was just getting gentrified and half the brownstones on the street were still boarded up. Mine had recently undergone a renovation from a boarding house to apartments. The original house built in 1830 belonged to Clement Clark Moore (author of The Night before Christmas) and had gone through a decline. Today Chelsea is the most expensive neighborhood in Manhattan.
“I then moved to West Hollywood California where I worked in the film industry and saw that community blossom to the hottest area in Los Angeles. Melrose Avenue two blocks from where I lived had one store on it, a funky used clothing store called Aardvark. Except for this store the only place of business was a moving company with dirty windows and a World War II desk in the window with a dial phone on it.
“Today Melrose Avenue is the hippest street in Los Angeles. It only took a few years and just the right mix of businesses for it to catch on; but once it did even the condom store was a mega establishment.
“My real inspiration was a plenary speech given by Ray Bradbury of science fiction fame at a Special Event conference in San Diego where he spoke about his interest in downtown revitalization. When he shuffled onto the podium I secretly groaned feeling I was about to be bored by an old guy babbling on. I was stunned by his dynamism and immediately got addicted to the entire concept of redevelopment. He was responsible for the urban renewal of downtown San Diego. I had taken a class in architecture and urban development while a student at Ohio State University even though it was not my major and aced it, which was funny since it was a requirement for all architecture majors and they loathed the subject and were incredulous that I had taken the class as an elective. So you might say it was in my blood.
“My interest in Main Street Vineland revitalization has been ongoing for many years. I was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2014 and continue to serve today. My interest in downtown Vineland has since taken me to own five commercial properties in the downtown district, and my residence is also in the downtown area. I am seeing progress and have a lot of faith in seeing our downtown district thrive and be the best it can be.”
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For more information on Main Street Vineland’s initiatives, programs, and activities, call our office at 856-794-8653, visit our website—theave.biz—or check us out at facebook.com/mainstreetvineland. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.