If you’ve ever seen something you imagined become reality, you can probably relate to the feeling you get when that dream is fulfilled. It’s tough to explain fully, this state of contentment mixed with further anticipation. That’s usually how I feel when I see a downtown make a change for the better. I’m sure that seems a bit cheesy, but I can’t help myself. I’m a devoted fan of downtowns.
Yesterday, Jimmy John’s opened at Austin Avenue Flats in Downtown Waco without much fanfare, but drew a decent crowd anyway. Sure, Jimmy John’s happens to be a franchise (perhaps even the first franchise restaurant to open Downtown), but for a moment I felt as if it brought to life a corner in the city that had been sleeping for 50 years. When I left to walk back to work I saw college students conversing on the sidewalk, as well as two motor scooters parked nearby. There was a new buzz there that I’m sure most planners get a high from.
With Franklin Place, a 146-unit mixed-use building beginning construction just two blocks away, and Cameron Heights being built a little further away, I expect that high to continue for some time.