Hot off the Press

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Hot off the Press

Post by Big Jim on Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:25 am

For all you Rumfudites, Candice Casey fans, and connoisseurs of “You Know Your From Rumford, if” Here’s a little something to sink your incisors into hot off the River Valley Sun Presses
You Know Your (You're) From Rumford Maine, If . . . by Candice Casey
Rumford, Maine-A few days ago someone started a Facebook group “You Know Your From Rumford If.” Yes quite a few have commented on how the “Your” should have been “You Are” or “You’re” and one of our task master English teachers, Fannie Caliendo would have smacked the offender with a ruler for this grammatical error.

Membership in the group exploded to 988 members in less than a week. The number of posts has been astronomical with 2,427 threads started with each running 16 comments and up already. People now living around the world are contributing with such memories as:

• Another classic shop on Congress Street....Rioux's Music Store....
• Now there's a memory. The Mammouth Mart!
• Creative Expressions, Fashion Bug, Flowers Etc., Jack's Music Store, Legere's, Hair With A Flair, Terry's Beauty Shop, Larry's Barber Shop, Audrey's Beauty Shop, Lampost, Carey's Oil Co, Rumford Drug Store, Wallaces Wheel, Fecteau's Store, and Dan's Pizza just to name a few!
• Also Bouffards Furniture, Corner Lunch (I worked there) and Corner Pharmacy!
• Anyone remember The First National grocery store on Congress St? Or JCPenny where the Muskie bldg is now?
• I still have a bottle of Mount Zircon Soda !
• How many of you remember the Maranatha Coffee Shop on Congress St? . . .They also had a Cornwall Products Wood Store next door.
• Hargreaves Drug store, The Dell Shoppe, First National Grocery Store, Tulsa gas station, Sotman's gas station, Little Folks Shop, The Yardstick, Sampson's , Island Cab, Greyhound Bus Depot
• The Barbara Shop, Bi-rite Meat Market, Chandler's…
• Penneys, Hansons Music store, Arthur Beaudet's Piano Studio, Vito Umbro's Tailor Shop, Chandlers Men Store, R.C. Jewelers, Hargreaves's Drug Store, E.K.Days,

All of these businesses are gone. A few more of the seemingly countless Rumford businesses that are no more that have been cited in the first few days of this Facebook Group: Blackie’s Ski Shop, Hamanne’s Ski Shoppe, Ted’s Pizza, Gemini, Young Generations, Thrift Store, JJ Newberry’s, WT Grant, Lamey Wellehan, Triple J, Days Jewelers, Rumford Furniture Company, D-Rs, Strand Theater, Rumford Drive-In, Rumford Cinema, LaVerdiere’s, Agway, Milligan’s, Freddie’s, Fortune Cookie, Gacetta Shoe, Scottie’s Mountain, Duffy’s, Dorion’s Market, Corner Pharmacy, Breau’s Dairy, Ferland’s Dairy, Decker Studios, Diconzo’s, Rizano’s, Hargraves, Frannelle’s, Pawn Shop, McQuade Agency, Rumford Travel, Richardson’s Army Navy Surplus, and this is just a chip in the Paper Mill Pile of businesses that the community has lost. This one post by Jean Shaw seems to sum up the business reality in Rumford, “We USED to buy everything we needed in Rumford! So sad to see the "downtown" now!”

Today, Congress Street, Canal Street, River Street and the connecting streets that comprise the Island Business District are a series of empty, decaying store fronts. The only thing missing to complete the ghost town image are tumble weeds.

Waldo Street, which was once another bustling business district within the town as recently as the 1990s with a pharmacy, major furniture store, shops, restaurants, grocery, and an auto garage now hosts vacant lots, shops converted to now abandoned tenements, vacant store fronts, and derelict buildings.

Property values in Rumford continue to decline with the glut of inventory, while property taxes continue to increase very significantly in some years as abatements are granted to the Paper Mill and Hydro Damn Generation Facility and to compensate for the TIF granted the Gas Powered Facility.

The population of the community has declined from the peak in 1930 of an estimated 13,000 to the current 4,561 reported in the 2010 census. The town has two primary employers, the Paper Mill whose employees by-in-large choose to live outside Rumford commuting to work and the town itself which keeps employees as residents of the town as a condition of employment.

In recent years a number of sizable enterprises have sought to come to Rumford only to have the door firmly slammed shut. The VA looked to place a nursing home in Rumford which was rejected and to be built in S. Paris instead. Walmart was rejected and built in neighboring Mexico. The VA clinic serving area veterans from a Franklin Street Rumford location may soon be relocating out of town after a 2 year battle with leasing and locations. A Wind Energy Developer that sought to invest in Rumford by placing a facility in Rumford with the backing of 2 out of 3 voters has found themselves with a 780 day moratorium on wind energy development and counting.

The majority of 988 members of the Facebook Group do not live in Rumford or even Maine. When asked if they would move back to Rumford, most who answered in various threads said they would not return to live, many not even to visit.

Christine Hoyt wrote, “I loved being from "Rumford" and I will never understand why everything is now River Valley! Some people think this is giving the town a facelift, but it's not the name that needs changing. There are too many alpha males running the show.”

With Dennis Wing responding, “I was thinking the same thing this passed week. It would seem that it would only require one good idea to spark genuine interest and enthusiasm for the area. Considering only the geography and geology, there is plenty to build upon. As far as the politics...ever hear of elections? Grow a spine and defy...I would be the first to return to Rumford if I thought for one moment the spirit wasnt in fact dead.”

Later in the thread Terri Milligan who does not live in Maine or intend to ever return added, “Instead of complaining, get out there , and stand behind, the poeple that want changes. Things can change, with large #. Small changes, start bigger ones. in with the new, out with the old. We have a city orderian(sp?) here, you have to keep your yard,nice and neat, clean of junk, etc. If you don't you get fined. some one got fined for have tons of kids toys in there yard. By restoreing building, will bring jobs, and new industr. bring back, old fashion soda shops, movie theater,etc, would make the" Back In time" tourist stop. Co-op's, when everyone works together, restore Rumford group..I have been looking at real state, there are 2 that i really like, but, they are very over priced, for tthe area. and are just outside rumford-mexico area. I not going to say anymore.. and will not post any more on this subject!!!”

The declining population, the loss of and no replacement of businesses and jobs, the unwillingness of people to live in Rumford who work for the few employers without it being a condition of employment, glut of real estate inventory, and the condition of properties, all point to the systemic issues brought to the fore by Hoyt, Wing, and Milligan; systemic issues that have only been worsening.

[b]Enough Said

Big Jim

Number of posts : 57
Registration date : 2011-08-04
Age : 56
Location : Oxford County

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