Ok, here's our chance Kingston. The year 2008 is only months away and what a year it can be. The choice is yours to make it special or not.
Why can it be special? Because:
1. The new sports and entertainment arena will open. It will bring great musical performances – previously unable to play our city – broadway style shows and trade shows. It will bring new downtown development, new hotels, new restaurants and new tax revenues.
You can join in the fun and even the anticipation of the fun or you can continue to complain and moan about the location, the cost, the design, the size, etc.
You can bad mouth the city staff who are working very hard on the project; you can continue to vilify the mayor for his foresight and determination in dragging the city kicking and screaming into the 21st century. You can hold onto any number of silly arguments, like the arena is only for the rich, (try taking in a concert in Ottawa or Toronto and compare the cost) or how about that there is no parking (there are over 2,000 spaces). Being negative will gain you nothing. Talking up how great the city can be will bring good feelings and new investment. It's all a matter of attitude.
2. The grander Grand will reopen. The home of the great Kingston Symphony, plays, etc. And it will be grand and beautiful. You can complain about it too. You can point out that it was expensive. You could argue that it would have been cheaper to tear it down. And how silly would that have been in a city that prides itself on our magnificent heritage buildings and our rich cultural history. So let's rejoice in the refurbished Grand and how lucky we are to have it after all these years – not torn down in a frenzy of buildings in the fifties and sixties.
3. The Multiplex will open and provide first class hockey rinks for our kids and our tournaments. Oh wait, it's too far away, it was too expensive, we don't need more rinks, we should have kept the old ones open instead. The old ones were in need of huge amounts of repairs and in some cases were irreparable. So let's talk it up. Let's brag about the new hockey facility we have here in Kingston for our kids. After all, we invented the game of hockey. We are the home of the original Hockey Hall of Fame; we have had 70 Kingstonians make it to the NHL; we host the longest running hockey tournament in the world; we invented the Memorial Cup and by gosh, Don Cherry was born here.
4. Market Square will be finished and looking beautiful. The rink will be skated upon by old and young. The amphitheatre will be functioning and entertaining us all.
5. And of course we will still have the 2008 versions of Feb Fest, the Limestone Classic, the Poker Run, CORK, Buskers, the Limestone Blues Festival, etc.
6. Ravensview will come on stream providing safe water for generations of Kingstonians.
7. We will still be celebrating the Rideau Canal and Fort Henry battlements being designated world heritage sites.
8. And in the not too distant future, maybe Lake Ontario Park will feature water play areas and a beach.
All these will make our great city greater, more fun for us all and more attractive to investment. Yes it will.
So is the glass is half full or half empty? It's up to you. Or maybe given the above list, the glass is full enough for all of us to toast Kingston.
Let's celebrate 2008.
Don Curtis is a communications professional with over 40 years experience developing communications, marketing and strategic plans for some of the largest companies in Canada. He has lived in Kingston for seven years and is involved in numerous community projects.