By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
I’ve been known to write five or six drafts before I finally decide on what will occupy this space. Understand that there’s much I have to consider before penning “Consider This,” including the events that transpire throughout the week and whether such happenings are worth putting pen to paper.
Since writing my column is time that I can otherwise use for page design, layout, website and social media management (even moderating the comments at sbnewspaper.com can be quite time-consuming), not to mention my general duties that involve management, editing, compiling and assigning news stories and conducting research for my own news articles, a topic has to really inspire me in order to warrant resources that I can utilize elsewhere.
Of course, I manage to find inspiration every week, but in a community like San Benito, journalists are never in short supply of story ideas.
Such is the case this week; however, I will not be discussing the San Benito CISD Board of Trustees, City of San Benito officials or those who seek to degrade the San Benito News merely for the sake of degradation and political posturing. I was instead inspired by a subject that I feel is just as important, if not more so to address as the aforementioned topics. And that subject is downtown San Benito.
I’d first like to commend San Benito Economic Development Corporation Director Salomon Torres for spearheading the first of what he hopes will become monthly merchant meetings. I understand that active participation was encouraged at the gathering, which several business owners attended inside new digs next door to Liberty Income Tax on N. Sam Houston Blvd. Wednesday. Ideas were sought and concerns were shared, but more importantly there was a sense of optimism present. Even my reporter returned from covering the meeting, which he believed would be business as usual prior to attending, motivated by the proceedings and hopeful of a positive outcome.
“I wish I would have gone!” I exclaimed in response.
Just as motivated as Frank, whose “Scatterbrained” piece will be published Wednesday (I gave him the night off), I decided to offer my advice on how to improve not only the downtown area but what could also spur business growth.
I can sum it up in five short words: cater more to the youth.
And I’m not talking about making sure there are bouncers at every festival and event for the little tykes to be distracted while mommy and daddy check out grown-up things. Find what it will take to attract gaming conferences and conventions or how to nurture and utilize the local alternative music scene – a sleeping giant in this city, from what I’ve seen and heard.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that this be done at the expense of what already makes San Benito, San Benito, such as ResacaFest, the Narciso Martinez Conjunto Festival and the San Benito Museums. Those events and facilities are tailor-made for a certain demographic, such as the retirement community, Winter Texans, history buffs, families in general and conjunto music aficionados.
But it’s my honest opinion that if just as much effort is placed in attracting teens and twenty-somethings to San Benito businesses and events, then we’ll be tapping into a market that represents the future of this city.
I’ve shared these thoughts with a few people from time to time, but my ideas are usually scoffed at, or some have even expressed fear of a chaotic or rowdy atmosphere they believe accompanies young people in just about any scenario.
While I’ve made this point before, it’s important that this message is shared repeatedly: Do not underestimate the intelligence or integrity of this city’s youth.
Read this story in the March 24 edition of the San Benito News, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.