Like Cindy Larson, I'm a resident of the south side -- never domiciled in any other part of town except for a few months after the Army when I lived with a friend in a trailer park off of North Clinton and then shared an apartment with two other people at Centlivre. Also like Cindy, I've been dismayed by the diminishing shopping choices there, and I have fond memories of Southtown. One of my favorite things to do was to swing through the bookstore to get a magazine or something else to read and then take it down to MCL to peruse during a full-course meal.
But, unlike Cindy, I don't have high hopes for the new shopping center at the former Southtown site. Shopping money tends to follow the path of economic development, and that's not southeast Fort Wayne right now. Either the the center will fail, confirming normal economic patterns, or it will defy the odds and succeed, which might not have the effect some people hope it will. Why is there an assumption that new shopping on the south side will suck money out of the north end of town? Isn't it more likely that people will just redirect their southside shopping dollars? Isn't the first victim of Menard's likely to be the Do It Best hardware store at Southgate, expanded by the local owner who had faith in the south end of town? Betting on retail to revitalize a declining part of town is always risky, but in these days of expanded online shopping it seems like a real long shot.
Besides, I only have so much energy and attention to devote to a high-risk attempt to reverse the tide of history, and right now the romantic in me is still hoping that downtown can be turned around.
But the wheels are in motion, and I hope I'm wrong.