Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tarentum's living room

The lead editorial on the opinion page of Wednesday's Valley News Dispatch is entitled "Back to square one." Without explicitly referring back to the excellent article in the previous day's paper, it builds on the previously reported information:
"The town square or Main Street concept of a downtown shopping area in communities is making a comeback."
Central Perk coffee shop on Corbet Street, Tarentum, PAThe editorial mentions the important social role of a coffee shop in fostering a sense of community in a re-emerging downtown area.

The editorial also refers to an accompanying column by Kathleen Parker. Parker is right when she says:
"If you want people to gather, whether in a retail shop, a grocery store, a devastated coast or a blighted urban area - even a public library where few go to read anymore - build a Starbucks, or something like it."
Unfortunately, Parker overestimates the value of the Starbucks name. There are thousands of independent coffee shops serving a similar function in providing a place where a human being can sit and socialize. Here in Tarentum, Corbet Street's Central Perk is a valued addition to the neighborhood. Don't expect to find any of the overpriced Starbucks coffee, but you will find a place where people gather, relax, and welcome one another.

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