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Finding some light at the end of the year

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

Looking back over a challenging year of intermittent waves of pandemic, some with devastating effect for the region, it can be hard to remember the positive things that happened. However, there were some that made the Northwest Corner more vibrant and will offer new opportunities for those who live and visit here.

Let’s look at the centers of North Canaan and Falls Village. Falls Village has a welcoming new café that has found a home along with the long-time destination, the Falls Village Inn, where locals and travelers alike can find food, drink, warmth and camaraderie. And 100 Main has charming items that are good as gifts as well as to enrich one’s own home. North Canaan center had the challenge of roadwork being done this summer to improve its downtown section around the railroad tracks, but now that is set for the winter. The new Industry Kitchen and Bar has been added to the active Berkshire Country Café and the Brewery at the Depot, as well as the Deli and the Canaan Country Club as destinations during the holidays and beyond for those who want to venture out for refreshment. And take the drive to Freund’s Farm and stop in at the Blackberry River Bakery and Bistro to pick up goodies for the holidays and beyond. Before there are closures again (fingers crossed the pandemic does not heat up again to that point), now is the time to join with friends and family and enjoy the businesses that are so dependent upon local support to survive.

In Salisbury, there are stable destinations like the White Hart and Provisions, Sweet William’s, Neo, LaBonne’s and the Salisbury General Store that make shopping, dining and just strolling there memorable. And Lakeville will benefit from the sale of the former restaurant in the middle of town, which is pending. Destinations like the Black Rabbit, Boathouse, Mizza’s, Deano’s, On The Run, Patco (not only for gasoline but so much more, including newspapers), Petpourri, Roaring Oaks Florist, Lakeville Wine, Northwest Cleaners, the Green Café and Studio Lakeville (which will now need to vacate due to town Planning and Zoning approving a plan, with conditions, for another restaurant in Lakeville; see story front page), the town Grove, the park, Lakeville Auto, Churchill Builders and more will be bolstered by new plans if they work out as hoped.

We hope the affordable housing initiatives in Lakeville and Falls Village come to be, in that working people in the region need to find viable places to live if they are going to remain in the area. As fewer and fewer affordable rentals are available and housing prices remain high due to the effects of the pandemic, it is the local people who work for a living that will be squeezed out of being able to live here at all.

Let’s think of ways to support the local economy at the end of this year, and going into the next, by supporting all our area businesses and all our  Northwest Corner town centers. This will help all of us go into 2022 with a better outlook for our region and our selves.

End of a very good run

After four years of being the moving forces behind the productions at Sharon Playhouse, it’s safe to say that Alan M-L Wager, Artistic Director, and Robert Levinstein, Managing Director, touched the lives of just about everyone in the Northwest Corner and the Tri-state region. Their connection with the community cannot be overstated. They put themselves out there from the time they arrived, getting to know the region and gathering support for local theater like whirlwinds.

What a time for them once COVID-19 hit. There were those who might have stepped back then, defending such an action easily as they were not part of what the state deemed “essential businesses.” But they did the opposite: found creative and successful ways to offer productions to their audience whatever it took. They had performances outdoors on their new stage facing the parking lot, with people attending in their cars and trucks as well as having the option of seats set up near the stage.

Their impending departure as announced recently means a Playhouse will be handed on to the next management group in much better shape financially and professionally than Alan and Robert found it when they arrived four years ago. Many thanks to them for their hard work and enthusiasm for the theater that gave it renewed life. And best of everything to them in their next stage of life. They will be sorely missed here.

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