Commentary: Look down the street and tell me what you see


Fred Arnold – Telescope publisher


Having a vision to see what a community is and what it can be is a good feature, I think. My old boss and Telescope publisher Merle Miller had it. I reference the following story a lot and will do it again in this space.

In the early 1980s when the Telescope was located where the Bestifor corporate office is on Frontage Road, Merle took me outside one day. He had me look north up Highway 81 and then south down the same road. “What do you see?” he asked. My obvious answer was “The highway.” He told me that is what I saw because I lacked vision.

He told me he saw a future that involved a 4-lane road, gas stations, motels, new businesses and industry. He, of course, was right. Progress doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. Look at 81 30 years ago and look at it now. Night and day.

Fast forward.

Take a look at downtown Belleville. More specifically the “Bombed out block from post war Berlin” as I refer to it. What we see now is a series of buildings surrounded by fence.

Vacant. Dilapidated. An eye sore.

What we will see very soon is a cleaned off downtown city block that is ripe for development, ready for new construction and a location with endless possibilities that will only make our great community even better.

After a long wait, a seemingly endless time moving at a glacial pace of wading through mountains of red tape the bids for razing our little corner of bombed out Berlin are in. Members of the Belleville city council are expected to choose a contractor at their next meeting.

The wrecking ball will fly soon afterward.