What's your neighborhood gathering place?
The U.S. Postal Service is considering 3,700 post offices for closure -- 41 of them in Maryland -- and the community reaction to that possibility made me think about neighborhood focal points.
Sure, some people just see the post office as a place to drop off packages and buy stamps, but others feel very strongly that it's an integral part of the community -- a place to meet neighbors and catch up on goings-on.
Does the post office near you operate in that way? What is the gathering place in your neighborhood, or gathering places?
Do you have any at all?
Pools can work in that way. They're among the gathering spots in Columbia, or at least they were when I was growing up there. Parks and playgrounds have the same sort of appeal, though their demographic tends to skew young. And then there are malls.
For some neighborhoods, the go-to place is a restaurant. Patterson Park folks felt so strongly about the focal-point power of the building at the corner of Baltimore Street and Linwood Avenue that they banded together to buy it last year after the nonprofit that owned it collapsed and the restaurant there folded.
Planners sometimes talk about how some communities have no "there" there. I hope yours has a there.