There’s something to be said about yesteryear. Our past continually shows up on our doorsteps. However, is it important to hold on to the past, or should we leave the past, well, in the past? Skees Diner, located on Route 4 in Torrington just across the street from the police station is a huge part of the cities past. It is currently on the National Register of Historical Places. Today, it’s an eyesore that’s sure to delight any blight team who would like to destroy it with a wrecking ball. This is our cities past though. Should we just destroy it?
The Northwest Connecticut Chamber doesn’t seem to think so. Their plan is to move the diner to a visible location just off Route 8 in Torrington, renovate it, and turn it into the new Northwest Connecticut Welcome and Information Center. I for one commend the chamber on their efforts to restore something as historical as this. However, this project doesn’t come without controversy.
If you know northwestern Connecticut as well I do, you know how rural the
area is. Were common blue collar folks who live on budgets and for the most part, were pretty proud of that and wouldn’t have it any other way. You may be asking yourself well isn’t Litchfield county a very wealthy county? Your aspects of that would be mixed. Litchfield county has a lot of New Yorkers who come from the city and the island and invest in huge summer estates. The remaining population that is permanent is mainly blue collar. With that said, our rural roots show that we don’t like to spend money when we don’t need to. So, when the project cost was announced, which I believe is somewhere close to four hundred thousand dollars though I could be mistaken, the moans and groans came alive!
Here’s my take on this: Torrington, which I love very very much, has always reminded me of one of those places that are behind the times a little bit, and for the most part, it’s pretty cool. However, now more than ever, the economy is taking a toll. Today is like a whole new ball park when it comes to being conservative. We have to spend money in order to make money. Imagine the tourism dollars that we’ll have coming in when we have more informed tourists. Sure, most will get their information from the web which has a world of information at your fingertips. However, in my perspective, when I visit an area, I would love to be able to get information from a local citizen who knows the area best. That person represents everything and leaves a lasting impression on me about the area. It often determines if I’ll come back.
I want you to take a moment and see this from a tourists eyes. If you never knew about the Litchfield Hills and were completely oblivious to the area and you saw a idyllic diner with a friendly local just waiting to offer you world class service, what would you think? What would your first impression about the area be? These questions and more are what we should be asking ourselves. We always have to see things through the tourists eyes, not our own….
By the way, the Northwest Connecticut Chamber is seeking donations for the welcome center. Here again is the link if you would like to donate to help preserve this historic diner as well as learn about the project itself: http://www.nwctwelcomecenter.org/
Mike can be reached for comment at: NorthwestCTMike@aol.com