Like most people watching politics and policy in Fitchburg lately, we've been bemoaning the current state of fiscal affairs. It's so depressing, we know.
While the short-term view isn't too optimistic, how about the long term? Well, not to shiny either, if you look at state and local revenue numbers over the last few years.
One thing Fitchburg missing is that One Big Idea. That one thing that can rally a community, build momentum, and become a cornerstone for major urban development.
Sometimes, these One Big Ideas bust (say hello, New Bedford "oceanarium." We hardly knew ye). Often times, they work, such as the Tsongas Arena and the Spinners in Lowell.
So the question is, what's Fitchburg's big idea?
Minor league sports is a common option. It's worked in Lowell and Manchester. Can it work in Fitchburg, which certainly doesn't have the population base of those communities but is also rather isolated from other options?
How about a big-thinking museum-type thing, like the oceanarium, which was troubled from the beginning and never overcame its problems? What could Fitchburg hang its hat on that would attract big crowds for the long term?
How about a Jordan's Furniture? Seriously. I packed a kid up and traveled an hour to Natick to see "The Polar Express" last month. What about some other stand-out business, like IKEA, which turned Stoughton into Grand Central (Furniture) Station last month?
How about a massive entertainment complex? A mix of Jillian's and nightclubs under one roof? Something that caters to college-age and young professional partiers, but also has a room or two for middle-agers to get dinner and hear some live music?
Why isn't there any talk of finding, developing and eventually creating that One Big Idea? There are a lot of nuts-and-bolts things Fitchburg must do, but the city must also look at its future and find a vision for something greater than it is now.
So, what's Fitchburg's One Big Idea, and how does it become reality?
Save Fitchburg cleared the 1,000-hit mark yesterday, which we find relatively amazing after just one month. Thanks for stopping by, keep coming, and throw in your two cents. Thanks.