The Tour de Donut came to Troy over the weekend, bringing close to 2,000 bicyclists from 22 states to town. There were bicycles and donuts and WACO planes flying overhead and music and I guess a good time was had by all.
The bicycle event made me stop and think. I’ve lived in Troy a long time. People who complain about not enough going on in the city just haven’t lived here long enough.
There is way more going on in Troy today than there was 50 years ago – and Troy itself, particularly the downtown area, is much more attractive than it used to be.
I can remember only a few major events from when I was a child. Back in 1964, there a sesquicentennial celebration and all the old guys grew beards and drank a bunch of beer. That’s about all I remember. Before that, I remember a big WACO airplane event where Archer Drive is now located. When I was in high school, there were power boat races on the river.
Then there was the county fair every year and … well, that’s about it.
More goes on in one year around here than what used to happen in a decade. There are concerts all the time downtown and at Treasure Island. There are events like the Festival of Nations and Second Story Secrets Tour. The WACO Fly-in, the offspring of that big WACO event I remember years ago, keeps Troy on the aviation map. Brukner Nature Center and the Miami County Park System provide a wide range of programming. Neither of those institutions existed 50 years ago. The farmers’ market, Friday night Streets Alive and Grand Illumination events bring people downtown. Of course, there’s the big momma of them all, the Strawberry Festival.
Then there are the different special events held in town. The Tour de Donut, the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, the Godzilla-sized Abraham Lincoln statue and the Gentlemen of the Road Tour are all major events that took place in Troy in recent years. The library even brought penguins to town this year from the Cincinnati Zoo.
All the people who come to town for these events usually are impressed with Troy’s downtown. We see it all the time and take it for granted, but it really is a picturesque kind of place – handsome buildings, wide streets, cool fountain. They wouldn’t have been so impressed back in the 1960s.
Back then, the square had a dumpy little fountain and driving around it was only slightly less dangerous than entering a NASCAR race in a Volkswagen bug. Many of the buildings looked pretty seedy and the sidewalks were inconsistent, to say the least. The city has done a great job making the downtown area attractive.
And now there actually is major construction going on in downtown Troy for the first time in about a bazillion years. The new office/residential building on South Market Street and the Kettering Medical Center facility on West Main Street will be important upgrades to the city’s downtown area.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m not one of those guys who always moans about “the good old days.” They weren’t always so good.
Sure, there’s a lot more traffic on the main streets these days, the North Market Street bridge is ugly and inadequate, we have to do something about our schools, the Little League fields always flood and we have a number of other problems to solve. No one is perfect.
But we ought to be thankful for the work people have put in to making the city a better place. If you don’t think that’s true, you might want to talk to someone who has been around town a long time … as far as I can tell, the good old days actually are right now.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.