Sunday, May 04, 2008

Traveling man

One of the great things about traveling is that you get to see what other areas are up to. For instance ...

A just-completed vacation took me through the city of Sacramento, California. This was my 25th state capital -- I have no plans to make it to all 50, by the way. It's a growing area, no doubt in part due to business associated with the state government.

In the good old days, much of Sacramento's business was conducted right along the river. Not unusual, of course. Years later, that section of town had become rundown and underused. So, when someone came up with the idea of making it an historic district and fixing it all up to look like it was the 1800's again, others followed suit. Supposedly "Old Sacramento" has been around since 1976, and it seems to be doing OK -- at least the stores seemed to be occupied.

The district is about six blocks long and two blocks wide. It has some restaurants, museums, bars, a comedy club, souvenir stands, etc. That's about the mix you'd expect.

OK, here's the point. Buffalo has a waterfront, and it has some old buildings left over from the good old days. Buffalo has something called "The Cobblestone District," which has about two streets near HSBC Arena. You would think that it would be easy to put some seed money in there, expand the district between the arena and the planned casino, and have an instant draw for tourists as well as the locals.

I've had similar thoughts about Buffalo when I've traveled elsewhere. Baltimore had an empty waterfront, and now it's filled with activity with such projects as an aquarium as well as top-line restaurants. Buffalo couldn't get away with year-round water taxis, but other parts of Baltimore's plan certainly could be stolen, er, copied or adapted for inspiration.

At least we'll have a big fishing supply store on the waterfront soon. But it can't be that hard to get the wheels of progress in motion.

Can it?

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