The idea of turning Center Street into a one-way route seems to have died a quick death. A downtown group had initially raised the idea of converting Center Street one-way from west to east to match the one-way east to west flow of Front Street. But a traffic committee meeting Wednesday failed to attract any support for the idea.
The City Council will now consider the change but it doesn't stand a prayer of passage. And quite frankly, that's the way it should be. In fact, I along with many, many others still smart over the day when the brick streets were paved with asphalt downtown. That disaster still irks me to this very day and that was darned near 30 years ago.
Downtown Sikeston is typical of many small town centers of commerce. Much of the traffic left the downtown area years ago when the retail growth flowed down Main and Malone. But a strong core of active merchants and other businesses still thrive in our downtown area. The substantial improvements to the Depot aided in the renewal of the downtown area. And today our downtown area remains active and vital to our future.
The fact is, we don't condemn the one-way proposal. We just thought it would bring more issues than had been examined. One friend said the idea was a solution in search of a problem. What a clever thought.
The city has discussed some long-range plans to greatly reinvest in the downtown area with an array of new city buildings downtown. We all know that at some point in our history, the Public Safety headquarters must be replaced. City Hall, too, will soon need a new home. And there are those who believe the Board of Municipal Building could also be part of a major downtown municipal complex. Add to that a jail and a new courtroom and you have the potential for a major downtown project. I believe city officials are committed to keeping those facilities in the downtown area. But those plans are costly and down the road a bit.
This newspaper is part of the downtown family. Our offices have been in the downtown area in one location or another for nearly 90 years. So we understand the importance of a strong and active downtown in a city our size.
The improvements in the downtown neighborhood will come. But it appears those improvements won't include changing the traffic flow on Center Street. And in our opinion, that's the way it should stand.