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Opinion

River Falls’ lifestyle would benefit from Chinatown

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October 23, 2008

River Falls will soon have another gas station on Main Street. In addition to a new stoplight at the corner of Quarry Road and North Main Street, there will be the town’s second Kwik Trip. Another gas station.

Another gas station. Someone thought this move was a good idea. Do you think it is a good idea to plant another car-fueling stop for a developing city of cyclists and pedestrians? In a town where there is a lack of good restaurants and a surplus of dirty bars? In a town where there is already a vacant gas station lot on the same road?

No, seems like a wildly, ridiculous idea to me. Think about it city planners, what do super cool, awesome cities have? Not an obscene amount of gas stations! Super cool, awesome cities have art galleries, themed bars, and buskers instead of drunk, shouting people during the night life. But most importantly, if River Falls wants to be cool, it needs a Chinatown.

People love cities with Chinatowns. Chicago, New York City, Austin, London, Sydney, Amsterdam, Vancouver, Havana and Bangkok are just some of the wicked cool cities that have Chinatowns. If River Falls obtained a Chinatown, its tourism income would increase and restaurant options would go way up. Who doesn’t like to see dangling dead rabbits when they walk through a market?

A Chinatown district of the city would increase the amount of pedestrian-only paths without increasing the amount of paved roads and the impact of cars on the environment. By adding some color and a freshly cooked garlic aroma to the city, there will be a reason to stay within the city limits for that second big date.

Imagine the money-making college student playing his guitar near the Chinese candy shop where little girls on their Razors buy bubblegum. This is a place where parents are teaching their five-year-old how to say “duck” in a foreign language. A Chinatown would create more jobs than a gas station. In our proud, sustainable city, “green jobs” could also be created by engineering a district that uses green energy and providing healthy alternatives to the usual MSG-filled Chinese foods from conventional restaurants.

Artists will have an outdoor, public place to sell or display their art. It would also give the opportunity for community art (not to be confused with graffiti of the gangster/amateur variety). This tasteful graffiti, by washing it off or painting over it, you commit a destructing sin.

With music, structural and 2-D art, new jobs and bicycle/pedestrian friendly paths, I believe that a Chinatown would bring the city of River Falls good fortune, a cool factor and a functional mini-economy. Not to mention the feng shui of an ecologically friendly environment and no parking lots.

There are too many gas stations in River Falls. There are not enough restaurants or places to go to on a Saturday night. Traditional River Falls needs a modern change.

The economy is up and down. Oil prices are up and down. The people need health care. The children need to be properly educated. As a citizen, it is your right to use your voice. Vote for change.

Teresa Aviles is a student at UW-River Falls.