The clean-up effort along Brighton north of Vivion has been slow going. Many of the disheveled houses that butted up against the road have been knocked down, but the area still looked dumpy, thanks to the pawn shop that took up residence in an old strip mall about two years ago.
Pawn shops have their place in society, but my limited experience with them has given me an impression of clutter and desperation. The one that moved in had a constant supply of cars, trailers, boats and whatever else couldn't fit through the door littering the parking lot. The windows were painted with florescent paint decrying that week's bargains of game consoles, jewelry and musical instruments. I'm the type that can't help but think of the poor soul so in need of cash that they have to pawn Billy's trumpet or Sara's Gameboy or else go without food or electricity for the month. The steady stream of clientèle has done little to break this impression.
A few months ago, the businesses in the strip mall all closed up shop, each one painting a passive-aggressive goodbye note on their windows. Late last week, I noticed this on my drive home from work - the dilapidated strip mall, an abandoned car wash, and the old spaghetti-and-catfish-joint (most recently a drive-through coffee shop) were all reduced to a few angular piles of rubble.
These businesses have been cleared to make way for a new CVS pharmacy. While a part of me is a little sad that something more home-grown isn't building on the site, I can't help but celebrate the clean-up of what is really an area in desperate need of new business life. Recently, a CVS went up on the site of the old ASAP gas station on N. Oak. ASAP had been a local high school hang out back in the day, but had fallen on hard times and had sat empty for a couple of years, its bleakness seeping into the area surrounding it. Then CVS went in, and suddenly the area looks bright and shiny and new. I hope the same happens to my corner.