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A recent comment in one of the Chicago Building's tenant's guest books:

"Nice Store, pity about the town"

This was from a gentleman who travels often and enjoys walking around exploring new towns. He'd been travelling around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. I had the opportunity to speak with him and get his impressions. They were not favourable to Owen Sound. A town which is sliding deeper into depression.

Sometimes when we see something often enough we become numb to it and it becomes "normal". Vacant shops in Owen Sound, normal. Homelessness in Owen Sound, normal. Run down buildings, normal. Syringes on the ground, no big deal.

The population in Owen Sound is declining. Stores are closing. From my observations drug use is up. At one time Owen Sound was called the "Chicago of the North". If things continue as they are we risk getting a new name, "Detroit of the North".

How can we fix this? The city promised a round table at their last Council Meeting to bring all the stake holders together to address some of these issues at the request of the new action group "Neighbors Against Drugs and Crime". This is just the first steps. The city government alone can't fix this.

It's often said it takes a village to raise a child. In Owen Sound's case it will take the residents to raise this city back up on its feet. This includes the "Business residents" as well. Landlords providing clean safe housing. Tenants respecting the efforts of the Landlords. Companies respecting their employees and not using them as a disposable commodity. People taking pride in their work, their house and making a contribution to society as a whole.

Peter Reid

Owner, Chicago Building, Owen Sound




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