Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

April 26, 2016

What Has Happened To My Town?

I moved here just about 5 years ago and I used to love walking downtown and taking pictures on Main Street, and browsing the shops.  Maybe grab a slice of pizza.  It was so quaint.

Sadly, over the last 2 years, that end of Main Street has fallen into major disrepair, with condemned buildings and tenants just not being able to make a go of it.  This one kind of kicks off the sad part of town.  It's really huge and condemned.

But no one has torn it down yet.  So there it sits, rotting away.

Was gutted when my bank branch closed down in January.  My options were downtown Wareham, or crossing the bridge to Pocasset or Sandwich.  None of those are realistic options, so I had to move to a new bank.  Now this one's for sale.

This was an antique shop for a few years.  They renovated in late 2012 and early 2013 and opened that spring.  She had a lot of great stuff too.  But unfortunately, the business owner was locked in a major dispute with the guy that supposedly sold them the building but then allegedly reneged on the deal.  She was forced to close and move out of town.

Now we get into the derelict buildings.  Both of these were occupied by small thrift shops a year or so ago.  Can you see the reflection of the RR bridge in the window?  These buildings are across the street from our lovely park, the train station and access to the Canal's service road for walking, biking, fishing, etc.

Next to those sits this one.

There's one business between the above and below.  This one is also condemned.

Next to that is the now-defunct Jake's Pizza.  He started out a couple of years ago and his pizza was great.  Sadly, the quality of the food took a nose dive (I actually got very sick after eating an Italian sub sandwich from them).  I heard he was offered a great job as a chef so he closed.

Next to Jake's was Canal Creamery Ice Cream.  They opened in approximately 2014, in the spring.  I heard he couldn't afford a rent increase and was forced to close.  There wasn't any business in the winter to justify staying open.

Next to that is what used to be Rust Ed's Antiques.  They had some cool stuff too.  Heard they closed because the owner got very sick.

Another closed business next to Rust Ed.

Cape Cod Burgers & Fries was doing well until the building next door, vacant and condemned, had its floor cave in over the winter.  That rendered the floor in this one too unstable and they were forced to close too.  The town has already agreed to have the top 'BBay Nat'l Bank' part removed and placed in the park across the street.

The big ugly pit where the one was torn down (next to Cape Cod Burgers).

No one ever thought the Port O'Call bar would close.  It had a reputation as being a big rough and tumble.  

There are a few businesses at the very end of the street that are open...Lisa Laine Gifts and Deb's Dog House (the groomer I use).  This Yoga place looks like it's going to open....I hope they can make a go of it.

Whatchamacallit Shop, which has managed to stick it out despite the building next door being torn down, is one of the only things left.

This looks so awful.  A real blight on the town.

The problems with these buildings are many.  They are too run down to be safe.  The ones that are habitable are unaffordable.  Canal Creamery's rent went up and forced them out.  There is a very wealthy person in Bourne who lives in luxury and owns some of these buildings.  I don't know if he is responsible to tear them down or the town is, but either way, no one seems to have the money.  And if they were razed it would be prohibitively expensive to rebuild.  They are in such bad shape that they can't be saved with renovation either.

It breaks my heart because I love BBay and the area has so much potential, but it looks like a run down slum now with no hope for the future.  Small wonder I hardly ever walk downtown anymore. It's safe and all, but these empty buildings just creep me out.

16 comments:

  1. This is so sad. We don't drive through anymore due to the bypass.

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    1. As needed at Rte 25 was to get to the bridge, it killed the businesses along the 28/6 stretch. Wareham has made a go of it by building shopping plazas, fast food restaurants, mini golf and the big water park, Water Whizz. The other end of Main St, closer to the rotary and Bourne Bridge, is doing fine. But this end just died.

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  2. That's so sad. Even if new buildings are built they won't look the same. Every town in Scotland is having the same problems. Rates are too high,landlords don't do repairs,shop closes and is rented out at very low rent by charity shops. In our small town we have about six charity shops, three really cheap pound shops or dollar stores. The small businesses just can't afford high rent and rates. I really think the council want to tear them all down for private housing and we'll have to be content to drive to large shopping malls.

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    1. I had no idea it was happening over there too...I thought it was just small town America dying. I don't know what the solution is. I found out today that my town of Bourne has offered grants to the property owners but they have to comply with new building codes or statutes or something, and none have taken advantage of it.

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  3. That's heartbreaking.

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    1. It sure is. I really love living in Buzzards Bay and i'm not going to move, but it's no fun to go downtown anymore. I'm guessing the handful of businesses that remain open don't need to rely on the income to survive.

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  4. It's sad to see an area go derelict and nothing replaces them. Maybe if the economy picks up, new building will fill in. With summer coming, won't tourists divert elsewhere? Good that you are documenting this change JoJo, you might want to write about it one day.

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    1. I keep hoping the economy will pick up. This is such a desirable area that the landlords want to force their tenants to basically 'pay for the view' since the park and Canal are right there. But no one can afford that, and in the winter, it's a ghost town. There are no tourists in winter. If you have to pay rent and expenses on a business you can't afford to keep open during that time, there's no way to make ends meet unless you are independently wealthy and can absorb those extra expenses.

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  5. No one will rent them. I rent one, but the owner keeps the rent so cheap he is almost paying me to stay there. The roof leaks, the heat is electric and insufficient to heat the whole area so we supplement with smaller heaters. In winter electric bill is outrageous. There is no parking. Wind blasts through unweather-protected cracks and crevaces. But I stay. Its cheap for the amount of sq ft.

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting Susan, I'm glad you saw the link on my post on the Bourne Residents page. It's heartbreaking. I'm glad that you are able to make a go of it, but you shouldn't have to live with those conditions. I will never understand the landlords. I am already pretty furious with one of them...not sure if he's yours...but he owns the the old theatre lot where MMA parks now, behind the bank and Sea Breeze Optical. He drove out Antique Affair.

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  6. Sad to see the empty shops and not active anymore, I guess economy is not that good and affected plenty. Hope your town will prosper once more... By the way, nice photography shots over here! :)

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Reana! It's very sad to see the town fall down like this. Esp. since all those store fronts were occupied a couple of years ago.

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  7. I closed my business a year ago just after our country started the Goods & Service Tax, many businesses have been hit hard because of the taxes..sometimes it is a blessing in disguise to close down not profitable business to avoid being dragged down financially.

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    1. Thanks for visiting my blog Agnes! It's very sad that businesses can't make a go of it anymore. So much for the dream of being self employed.

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  8. This just breaks my heart because it reminds me so much of where I grew up. Our town was quaint and small once too. Then it kinda grew into a more "modern" town and lost that beachy feel when Starbucks, CVS, and the like moved in because the locals couldn't afford to maintain the properties and pay the cost of taxes. It just sucks. I mean, it's not run down or anything but it's not the same either.

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    1. It's awful to see those chains come in and knock out the mom and pop businesses. I like Dunkin Donuts and all but they are practically on every corner. There are only a handful of locally owned coffee shops. Buzzards Bay has so much potential but the buildings appear to be beyond all hope.

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