On a recent trip to the USA I noticed that many communities with historical areas have regretted the “modern” developments that have made the areas into eyesores.
They are now trying to buy back land or restore sites where possible to their historical condition. They have realised that tourism is a big industry and many visitors come to experience the history and heritage of an area.
The historical towns on the lower Mississippi River where modern satellite cities have developed within a few kilometres are dying. An attempt has been made to consolidate the ‘old’ town of Helena with the new town of West Helena but it does not seem to be working.
Now because of tourism, an attempt is being made to restore the historical aspects of the old town. It’s sad that this approach was not considered before the new town was build. We need to avoid this happening to the CBD of Cleveland.
Why not revitalise Cleveland as the historical heart of Queensland. Provide attractive pamphlets and maps of Cleveland at the railway station highlighting Cleveland’s many historical sites. Reinstate the bus from the railway station to Cleveland Point so visitors can explore Cleveland’s some of this heritage. Create a heritage trail for visitors and locals to walk or cycle around.
There are other complementary things we could do to encourage visitors. Initiate markets on a Saturday morning when local businesses are open to encourage visitors. Convert one of the old CSIRO buildings into a “hands on” science museum for children, school groups and university students. We need to give people a reason to come to our city and spend the day here.
We need to be creative in the way that we use Cleveland’s historical and cultural heritage. We need to make the most of our past to assure our future.