Sunday, November 15, 2009

City of Ruins

The television show Extreme Makeover was in town this week and they certainly, through the use of volunteers, did a wonderful job of re-doing a home in a battered part of town. Kudos.

The grim reality of it being, of course, is that most of the city is in the same sort of shape. It's shocking to drive on the east side of Buffalo and see the boarded up homes, the unmowed lawns, and the broken glass. It's disheartening to travel to the west side too, or to the Black Rock district, or downtown.

Last week I walked Main Street in the middle of a beautiful afternoon. Storefront after empty storefront, I was expecting to see a tumbleweed roll down the center of the track. A ghost town like the old west.

And yet every once in awhile people step up and help out. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there to greet the new family as they looked at their rebuilt home.

I'm sure that most people went down in an effort to get on television, but why they pitched in isn't all that important. They fixed up one home and it's a start.

Unfortunately, like most every city in America the team from Extreme Makeover can save a lot of money on transportation costs by just moving down the street, one house at a time, and every house doesn't have to become a castle.

A few coats of paint, a working lawnmower, someone to take down the boards and fix up the windows, or better yet, perhaps the makeover can be about respecting property, and taking pride in ownership.

That is the makeover we really need.

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