As long as I can remember, the residents of my hometown have been telling me how much better the town used to be. The golden age of the town, for them, was the 1950s, when a trolly still connected it to a nearby town; when there was a huge riverfront park with a carousel and a skating rink; before the town's grand movie theater was destroyed in a fire; before Hurricane Agnes in 1972 devastated much of the shopping district; and long before the malls in the 1980s killed off virtually all downtown commerce, and Wal-Mart in the 1990s killed off most of the rest of it.
In many ways, except for the commerce, not much has changed. Many of the buildings shown in this miniature landscape still exist, even if they are past their glory days. Of course, many buildings have also been lost to flooding and, more recently, from fire. Because the main street of town is in the flood plain, zoning is touchy for anyone who wishes to rebuild.
Still, every time I visit, I notice little ways the town is working towards revitalization: from stations for a walking tour to a newly-installed fitness course, paid for with state funding. They say that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, but in this case, the residents do want to reclaim their history. Perhaps, through small step after small step, they can finally reach something close to the golden age they all recall.
Nothing is permanent, especially when it floods.