Downtown Man

So what’s it like living in Downtown Waynesboro? Same as how it is where you live, just less going on.

But I have hope. It will all turn around. Some day. Probably after I’m gone, unfortunately.

I’d been wanting to live in a downtown since going to a dinner party in Downtown Staunton several years ago. The apartment above a downtown business was first-class all the way, and the proximity to everything downtown – restaurants, coffee shops, the entertainment – was a natural draw.

Waynesboro … will get there. It’s not there yet, not for lack of people trying. The Wayne Theatre folks keep plugging away, in spite of the best efforts of the powers-that-be. Chickpeas has carved out a nice niche for itself as the place to dine downtown. I keep hearing talk of a martini bar on the verge of opening. We ate tonight at Chickpeas and took a walk down to the bar to see how it’s coming along. They’ll … get there.

In the meantime, it sucks having no neighbors. I live up a block up the street from the apartments at the corner of Main and Wayne. Which is probably why I didn’t get interviewed for the story in the newspaper this week about downtown living. Nobody knows we’re up here at the top of the hill. Our neighbors are two churches and an empty News Virginian building. And a family of skunks that has taken up residence across the street, and a groundhog that we’ve named Alvin and has been here since we moved in three years ago and I’m sure long before that, as fat as he is.

I guess it’s because downtown has so few residents that the city decides to sweep the streets all hours of the night. Last winter during the snowstorms was horrible. For several nights after each storm work crews worked through the night cleaning downtown of snow. Think beep, beep, beep, beep, beep all night long, with lights flashing and people talking like it’s the middle of the day.

On the plus side, we have plenty of parking, and most nights (at least when there’s no snow) it’s quiet after 5 p.m. Which is a bad sign, of course, for the long-term health of downtown, since the quiet after 5 p.m. is not just a lack of activity, but importantly a lack of economic activity.

But I have hope. A lot of people are working hard to turn things around. And things will turn around, because the people who are working hard are too smart to accept anything other than ultimate success.

Column by Chris Graham. More columns by Chris at

augusta free press news