Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Downtown Dixon: Waxing Nostalgic and Inspiring Generations

{Consider joining DMS as a volunteer or sponsor in 2014

There is something magical about the downtown lights. There is something distinctly communal about the experience of seeing the lights twinkle as you drive across Galena Avenue Bridge or as you stroll past the open shops at night as the light pours out onto the sidewalk. Perhaps it is because our roots are in the downtown of the community. It is the heart and soul.

In Dixon our downtown continues to be a cultural hub along with being a destination for fine dining and unique retail shops. The downtown is where people like Orson Welles, Charles Walgreen, Ronald Reagan, John Deere, Abraham Lincoln, Mumford & Sons, Barack Obama, and so many others have walked the streets. The downtown is where every news outlet goes to get the pulse of the community when the word gets out that something is happening in our community.

On a typical weekday morning it isn't unheard of to find a cluster of locals solving the world's problems over coffee at Books on First or Baker Street -- the fabric of Dixon getting spun with every tale. Just across the river, Dixon High School watches over the children of our community and lends a regal-ness to our activities. The McDonalds drive-thru hums with a line of cars that never seems to wane as the treadmills spin across the street at the YMCA.

Midland States Bank punctuates the air in what was described as the "Skyscraper of the Sauk Valley" when it was built. And the MSB sign is a beacon for what comes next in our community.

We are filled with icons in Downtown Dixon: The Old Courthouse, the Memorial Arch, the Dixon Theatre, the great churches, KSB Hospital, the Riverfront, and the amazing architecture along First Street that put our downtown on the National Register of Historic Places.

Orson Welles once compared Dixon to a Norman Rockwell painting. Dixon is a slice of Americana that waxes nostalgia and inspires generations.

That is where Dixon Main Street comes in as a steward for the future with an eye on the past. We must preserve our heritage while creating a future that compels and inspires the world around us. When people hear Dixon the images should flood through their mind like the waters of the Rock River: It must be our mission to wow the world and ourselves each day.

Dixon, there is no other place like it. Help us keep the foundation strong. Help us cultivate our rich local cultural scene. Help us preserve the past. 2014 will be another amazing year in our history, we need you to help make it happen.

I invite anyone who wants to be a part of making Dixon dynamic to join DMS as a volunteer or sponsor. You can email me at mainst@grics.net or call 815-288-2308. Or simply come to our new volunteer meeting on Monday, February 10 at 6 p.m. at the Main Street office, 115 S. Hennepin Ave. Or find out more about Dixon Main Street at www.dixonmainstreet.com or www.facebook.com/dixonmainstreet.

This column originally appeared in the February 2014 Sauk Valley Sun Newspaper.

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