Visitor from New York impressed with community
A few weeks ago, traveling from New York City, I spent a day and a night in Worthington on a business assignment. I was reporting on the renovation of the Viking Terrace apartments for a national affordable housing organization. But the trip turn...
A few weeks ago, traveling from New York City, I spent a day and a night in Worthington on a business assignment. I was reporting on the renovation of the Viking Terrace apartments for a national affordable housing organization. But the trip turned out to be much more than a profitable work experience. Thanks to my overnight stay at historic Dayton House, I had a chance to spend a few hours living the high life of a turn-of-the-century village squire (plus some very modern conveniences). And in the remainder of my stay, I got to explore a part of Minnesota -- in fact, a part of the United States -- that I might otherwise never have seen.
It was an amazing and exciting surprise. Besides learning about Worthington's smart housing policy, courtesy of Alderman Mike Woll and Brad Chapulis, director or community and economic development, and visiting Viking Terrace with Jorge Lopez of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, I also got to spend a few hours walking the streets and visiting some downtown shops. A stroll along 10th Street felt like a flashback to a previous work assignment, when I was spending time at the United Nations. Not only did I encounter a wide cross-section of languages and nationalities (something I never associated with rural Minnesota), I saw the economic development effects of all this diversity. After our tour of Viking Terrace, Mr. Lopez and I had lunch at Queen of Sheba, a new Ethiopian restaurant downtown -- where, I have to admit, the food was better than at my favorite equivalent in Manhattan.
Residents of Worthington may take all this for granted. But for a visitor from a distant, big city, the discovery was really eye-opening: your town offers all the pleasures of rural life (quiet residential streets, open space, a beautiful lake, not much traffic) without sacrificing the variety and vitality of the modern, global economy. Striking and maintaining that balance isn't easy, and Worthington deserves a lot of credit for getting so much of it right. I, for one, intend to take any opportunity I can get to come back for a longer stay.