Mathews developer Walter Alford has stirred much interest with a sweeping plan to bring more homes and usable waterfront area to the village.
The plan is still conceptual. It would sadly signal the end of the last car dealership in the village, a type of business upon which the downtown thrived for much of the 20th century. The suburbs now seem to be the place for most of the basic services that people used to find in the central business district.
Mr. Alford and his fellow investors have already overseen a redevelopment at the other end of Main Street, and their work continues there. They have done all that they promised. Their new scheme would bring more residents and apparently some new businesses to downtown, promising an injection of spending power to the businesses already there and more revenue for the county.
Traffic in the village, and potential runoff to Put-In Creek, are impacts that must be investigated. We don’t agree, as Mr. Alford initially suggested, that dredging at the creek’s headwaters could be sidelined in favor of a tidal pool. The dredging proposal is independent of any other development plan and should not be linked with this one.
The water park as proposed is appealing. The opportunity to search for remains of the fabled ancient shipyard at the head of this now filled-in creek suddenly seems closer.
We are intrigued and wait to learn more. How nice it is that some business people see promise at the center of the town, are willing to invest there, and don’t feel it is necessary to build in undeveloped fields and forests in order to make a profit.