Revitalization and Reinvention
Facebook is a fascinating resource. It’s a finder of people, places and all manner of things. Lately, I’ve discovered a new use for Facebook; reconnecting with my hometown.
Belmont North Carolina is a sleepy southern town between the metropolis of Charlotte and the mini city of Gastonia. Belmont’s most outstanding feature is the enclave of Benediction monks who established the prestigious Belmont Abbey College in 1876. I grew up in Belmont, attended school, sat up housekeeping. I raised children who went to the same schools I attended. It was classic small town living.
I moved away several years ago, and thought Belmont, with the closing of the textile mill industry, would silently march off the edge of the map.
I was wrong. In an odd twist of fate, my tiny hometown became a popular bedroom community of Charlotte, sprouting new housing developments, restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. Downtown continues to be revitalized. New businesses are opening at a staggering pace.
Buying libations once meant a trip across the Catawba River Bridge into Mecklenburg County, the home of Charlotte. Now, downtown Belmont is bursting with bars, restaurants and venues with wine lists and beer menus.
And it’s all on facebook for me to follow. Last week a new restaurant opened and when the photos were posted I recognized it as the old Belk building in the center of town. The place where I bought my childrens’ shoes was refurbished into a funky food spot complete with a cool wooden deck in the parking lot.
Revitalization came to my hometown and it’s heartening to watch her develop and grow after losing her main source of industry. Not only am I enjoying watching Belmont advance, but my mom and dad, especially my dad, a real music conneuseur, is experiencing a nightlife of entertainment. Weekly he calls to report on one music event or band or the other. Mom knows all the ins and outs of who owns the new shoppes and restaurants and can recite their genealogy several generations.
So much in our lives can be revamped, redone and revitalized. As long as we are above ground and vertical, nothing is impossible.
Today is the grand re-opening of our favorite soda shoppe in the grand little town of Belmont. I’d give anything to be there with my kids sipping a lemonade and eating a bag of chips and talking things over. Some things never change.