Here is what you have to remember, everything in life requires maintenance. Everything must be tended to. The car in our driveway has to have an oil change and new brakes on a regular basis. The bike in the garage has to have the tire pressure checked and the chain oiled. The lawn needs mowed and the weeds need pulled. Your house needs cleaned and repaired when something fails. Even you, personally, require some maintenance (my sons would disagree). You should probably wash once in a while, maybe go on the occasional run and change up your slacks game. Everything needs tended to in our lives and those things that get neglected, deteriorate quickly.
The simple fact is, everything requires maintenance. The only things that don’t require maintenance are called disposable and nothing disposable is worth a damn. The very nature of disposable items means they are cheap and dispensable. Nothing that matters is disposable. Even our relationships require maintenance if we aim to keep them healthy. We have to check in on friends and family, visit with them, care for them. We have all had a relationship fade away over time because we didn’t put the work in to tend to that friend. Those are the choices we make.
If you no longer took care of your home, how would it feel to you? Would you be happy living in it? Would you be sad when you arrived home? Would you feel differently about your home if you didn’t take care of it anymore? Do you think it would impact how you would feel about yourself? You know it would.
Now apply that same thinking to your town. Imagine everyone just stopped maintaining it one day. Imagine how it would look and feel and effect people. Imagine everyone just decided, the space between the structures was longer worth tending to. Consider, that instead of neglecting your home, (no more cleaning, no more repairs) that you neglected your downtown.
Consider how passing through that space would make you feel. Think about what it would say about you and your community. Imagine how it would change the people that called that place home. What would be the cost, of an entire city falling into disrepair?
For most of us, there is no need to imagine this, because it happened. Maintaining our towns is not an option, it is a must.