11 October 2013

A Post in Defense of Plymouth, or a Response to Ostrander

Plymouth's most glorious main street bridging the Wythougan and leading into its Downtown

Recently I was made aware of a rather uncomplimentary blog post regarding one of Indiana's most unique little crossroads cities, Plymouth.  More specifically, the blogger compared the picturesque town's supposed shortfalls with its neighbor to the east, Warsaw.  The Ostrander blog post is here if you find it necessary to read his defenseless (and rather silly, exaggerated) scorn of Plymouth whilst heaping undue accolades upon his beloved Warsaw.

Indeed I suspect that Ostrander is a native of the wannabe Kokomo on U.S. 30, and likely participated in sport at its school, that looks like a prison, where his disdain really stems from the age-long rivalry between the cities.  To the contrary, I am not a native of Plymouth but am quite familiar with the city.  The charming town of Plymouth was situated on a river dubbed "Wythougan" by the Native American, at the crossing of Indiana's most historic and important road, the Michigan Road.  Early residents named the budding village in honor of the settlement our Puritan forefathers, who sailed but with their faith, staked out that would become the foundation of a new nation.

No, indeed, Plymouth's streets are not paved with gold either.  But they are shaded by the most magnificent trees that define the main street as, in the words of university professors, the most impressive thoroughfare in all of Northern Indiana, Warsaw included.  And at this time of year the main street is illuminated in gold from its living sentries stationed along its sidewalks.  Added to the charm of this main street is its historic streetlights that sparkle like diamonds as you stroll the broad sidewalks at night.  And what can Warsaw say to this?  Within months Plymouth will boast its main street as the longest contiguous corridor on the National Register of Historic Places in Indiana, save Meridian Street in Indianapolis.

I cannot even determine where Warsaw stops and starts as the stoplights keep reproducing.

Furthermore, Plymouth-while bypassed not once, but twice, maintains one of the most attractive downtowns in Northern Indiana.  The city embraces its unique place in not only history, but in geography, as a crossroads of important routes now designated by the State of Indiana as State Scenic Byways.  Warsaw can boast only stop-and-go traffic on U.S. 30 and a convoluted street grid that defies even the most astute of minds.  Plymouth's parks are strung around the city like precious gems in a necklace, the most important of which is underway in the city's downtown.  Warsaw has a park, well removed from the city, that is used as a refuge for those wishing to escape the city's tired and worn neighborhoods.  Warsaw turned its back on its best God-given feature, a lake, and chose to pollute it instead.

The Ostrander blog post pictured an ominous backdrop to the county courthouse situated in Plymouth.  Unlike Warsaw's founders, Plymouth's early residents determined that the seat of government should be in the midst of the people because the government is elected by and for the people.  This location amid neighborhoods is one of only two such placements in the entire state.  Warsonians determined that their government should be under the close scrutiny and control of its bankers, lawyers, and merchant-tycoons.  Not the people.

So let us talk about Plymouth's people.....true salt of the earth people.  Plymouthites are those who roll up their sleeves and get to work, unlike the neighboring Warsonians who sit and wait for one of their medical industries to gift them something.  Plymouth people are more than generous, in fact, one day nearly a year ago, is being heralded as one of the biggest days of benevolence ever seen in Indiana where hundreds participated in a single day of giving that resulted in over a half-million dollars raised for the community......whilst Warsaw waits for more handouts.

And yes, Plymouth's mayor's head is bald, as Ostrander pointed out, but it is well-polished, like so many of the city's fine residences.  And unlike Warsaw's meager coffers, Plymouth-through the leadership of its state-recognized clerk-treasurer-has amassed wealth that would make a city ten times Plymouth's size green with envy.


Warsaw's answer to both industry and culture
Ostrander implied that Warsaw's many more chain stores confirmed the city's better standing.  As I read, I thought he had decided to compliment Plymouth, because how indeed are more greasy french fries a sign of economic vitality?  I applaud Plymouth's lack of chains that pump dollars out of the community.  For culture Warsonians have fled to their sister city, Winona Lake.  Again, Plymouthites roll up their sleeves to produce for themselves rather than sit back and feel entitled to be entertained.  The proof is in the Midwest's largest three day festival held, no, not in Warsaw, but in Plymouth.

For all that Plymouth may lack, this is certain, its residents do not lack hearts of gold, the hearts of champions, and the steely-grit and determination to never become like Warsaw.

Actually, Warsaw's not all that bad......the post is just in keeping with the tenor of the Ostrander post.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was outraged when I happened upon the post this week.... totally false and outrageous! Thanks Kurt for posting your faith in Plymouth and its citizens. Plymouth may have some short comings but I for one am proud to call it my home!

Ostrander Bellepoint said...

This is a great blog you've got here; it's a peaceful, relaxing refuge from the turmoils of the world.

Thanks for responding to my comparison of Plymouth with Warsaw. I wrote it in the spirit of fun, and I'm glad to see a reply that puts me in my place!

hoosier reborn said...

Pleased to meet you. If you are ever in Plymouth again I will arrange with the mayor a proper tour.

Anonymous said...

Kurt I like what you have done here and I appreciate the response from Ostrander Bellepoint. But can we now address the largest shortcoming inside the city limits of Plymouth and that is the state of our housing stock. I know you accept this to be a major problem. An honest discussion and some solutions need to be formulated.......

hoosier reborn said...

I couldn't agree more. This is a lightning rod issue, though, as you know and probably contributed to my booting! We have to solve this issue if we ever hope to truly have the economic vitality downtown that we keep admiring in other downtowns.

Anonymous said...

Well done! Very interested regarding the housing issue. We love downtown Plymouth and want others to love it too!!

Tim Peters

Anonymous said...

The cold hard fact is that Downtown Plymouth is not going to be saved by a park. The park is a nice addition but HOUSING in and around downtown must be improved. The City has got to stop spending $200,000 to add unneeded parking lots and start fostering a climate in which private investors are willing to do some serious "urban renewal" in the cities core. The Redevelopment Commission should be tasked with using the pots of money they are sitting on to incentivize development downtown.It is going to take some leadership, which is frankly sorely missing from the Mayor on this, he must get out in front and lead and not be afraid of the clerk treasurer.

hoosier reborn said...

I agree wholly. I guess this housing issue is begging for a post. Unfortunately it is a hugely political issue, and what scares the establishment the most are people who think critically about what could/should be done. That's why they never get elected. Sometimes being from someplace, and truly loving it, requires a great deal of honesty in how we look at it. Plymouth Pride is great and all....but if it gets in the way of our own best interest, ultimately we won't have anything to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other posts that housing issues have not been addressed by the current mayor. He spends a lot of money on parking lots and helping his friends but what about taking care of our city. As far as the downtown, there are a lot of empty store fronts and I don't see the city doing anything about it. Also the "surplus" the city has because of the clerk-treasurer is at the expense of the city taxpayers. Wasn't the budget process questioned years ago about budgeting more than spending, therefore having money left over to put in the "surplus?" The same budget process has not been questioned and it still taxes more than needed. Seems the person that questioned the process doesn't care as he controls everything and is pulling the strings attached to the mayor.