Cue Mozart’s Requiem
Imagine you were a die hard football fan living in Canton OH, or a baseball fan living in Cooperstown, NY. What would you do if you heard the hall of fame was leaving your home town and no one cared enough to stop it. That’s how I feel today.
The US Bicycle hall of fame is leaving my home town of Somerville, NJ. Sources here say it is 90% certain that it will head for Greensboro North Carolina. Either way, I feel like my heart just got ripped out.
Ever since my children were born, we had a tradition of attending the oldest bicycle race in the US, The Tour of Somerville. Part of the day included a stop at the Hall of Fame. I would walk my kids around looking at all the memorabilia in the building. When my daughter was 6 years old she pointed at the framed rainbow jersey and squealed “Mario Cippollini!”
We would make a donation walk right out onto Main Street to watch the action. The Hall had to move from that storefront. A victim of progress that claimed the all the stores in the vicinity. In its place a new modern shopping hub would provide the Hall of Fame it’s proper place. In fact, there was even talk of a velodrome. Sadly, the builder became a victim too. One of endless lawsuits with the town and ultimately the economy. For the past two years, the shopping center sits behind yellow tape an empty shell.
The Hall suffered from an out of sight out of mind syndrome and funding slowed to a trickle. That’s when the bids went out for a new home. Several NJ towns stepped up and made, in my opinion, half hearted attempts to save this piece of NJ history. The state refused to step in and that was that.
I’ll still go to the Tour of Somerville until that becomes the Tour of Somewhere Else. Now all I have of NJ is the highest US taxes, highest US unemployment, and the Turnpike.