I have a lot in common with my hometown of Biddeford.
I am at a crossroads, and I have decided that all good things must come to an end. It’s been an incredibly fun ride, but it’s time for me to make some changes.
You may have already noticed, but last week I put All Along the Watchtower — my personal blog — to bed.
Going forward, this site will focus solely on my new business venture. The blog posts will be less personal and focused more on subjects such as public policy, politics, economic development, media trends and healthcare.
The timing for this seemed right. For many years, All Along the Watchtower focused primarily on the city of Biddeford and its political infrastructure. Because my wife was recently elected to the Biddeford City Council, it would be increasingly difficult to write about the city objectively.
And then, I decided to start my own business.
Many people have asked why I decided to launch Randy Seaver Consulting. A number of factors converged; some anticipated, some beyond my control.
Laura and I have been talking about doing this for more than a year, and finally the time seemed right. So, I find myself at a crossroads. A proverbial turning point in my life.
It is exciting and simultaneously terrifying. There is no safety net. Either I swim or I drown.
Now, with the disclosure out of the way, I would like to offer a few final thoughts on my hometown of Biddeford, a city that is facing its own crossroads; its own turning point.
Biddeford is in the midst of a renaissance, a revitalization that would be impossible to recognize 15 or 20 years ago. There is a new vibrancy here. The city’s narrative is changing and people all over Maine are noticing.
But still, there is an internal conflict in the city and it’s not so subtle sometimes.
I read something on Facebook recently that left me shaking my head. It was penned by a woman who claimed she moved here three weeks ago.
Essentially, this woman wrote that the city does not need a parking garage because downtown has nothing to offer but crime and crappy businesses. Who would want to come here? Why would they need parking? There is already plenty of street parking because Biddeford — basically — sucks.
I fought the urge to respond to this woman. I had a few questions for her. 1.) Why did you choose to move to Biddeford, if it is truly as bad as you say? 2.) Were you court-ordered to move here? 3.) Did someone force you to live here?
I understand that change is uncomfortable. I am experiencing my own incredible set of changes (and challenges). But change is part of growth while stagnation leads to decay.
I can appreciate the apprehension some people have about the city’s transformation. I also fully support the notion of constructive criticism from people who are worried about being priced out of their homes because of property taxes. These conversations happen in every community across the country.
But Biddeford has something unique, there is a strong element of self-loathing here.
Over the last few months, countless social media accounts have been set up for no other purpose than to spread negativity and vitriol through the city. No solutions are offered, none of these folks step forward to actually do anything other than gripe.
Self-hatred is prevalent here, and I wonder why more of our residents are not rooting for the city’s success. I don’t expect anyone to become a cheerleader. I respect different opinions and perspectives, but if you stay focused on the negative then you will find yourself in a negative place.
I am at a crossroads, and if I want to be successful, I must focus on success.
If I want my clients to succeed then I must keep my energy positive while also remaining open to constructive criticism.
It is the same for my hometown.
I am excited and anxious about my future. It’s no different in Biddeford.