The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 6, 2013

Your View: Front Street neighborhood has potential

By Nancy J. Bushnell, Mankato

— I have owned a business on the 600 block of South Front Street for about 13 years. There have been lots of articles and references to South Front over the years and I always read them with interest.

The column, "Front Street preps for the high life" commented on a development that has been proposed at the corner of South Front and Warren.

It's true there are bars on Front Street, but even those businesses are maturing. Choppers has become Chops, Red Sky is known as a music venue, Pub 500 has a great Sunday breakfast.

Front Street is not just bars. On my block, the majority of buildings are owned by local people Many of those owners run businesses in their buildings. We are entrepreneurs.

Sure, you can get tires, pick up a pizza and have breakfast in the neighborhood. You also can get your dog groomed, visit an established antique store, pick up Asian food, check out the newly renovated office space, sign your teenager up for driving classes, wander a great second-hand bookstore, take a yoga class, get a great cup of coffee, sign your child up for ballet and get a quality therapeutic massage.

We are the cool part of town.

I like South Front Street. I like the people, the central location, the old beautiful buildings and the manageable car traffic.

I know we have our challenges. One of them is an outdated public perception, which the media continues to support.

This area has the potential to create a place in our community that is unique, urban and vibrant. The proposed development would certainly contribute to that. Give it, and those of us making a living there now, a chance.