Still a good time …

Published 9:16 pm Thursday, October 28, 2010

Petsmart. T.J. Maxx. A bevy of new restaurants. A new West Washington Street mini-mall. A proposed development that would eventually result in the construction of 2,000 new dwelling units and up to 164,000 in commercial space.

Take a drive around Suffolk or study the headlines in recent newspapers and you might find it hard to believe that the nation is struggling to emerge from its worst economic situation since the Great Depression.

Construction crews have been busy in downtown and Harbour View, where they are preparing new spaces for retail stores that will range from mini-mall tenants to big-box superstores. Diners are enjoying — or preparing to enjoy — the food at several new restaurants that have sprung up around the city. People looking for a place to live can take advantage of low interest rates to buy existing homes — or they can rent space in one of the newly converted and renovated industrial spaces in the downtown area.

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Considering the lows to which the nation’s economy had sunk, the constant economic activity in Suffolk during the past year or so is especially encouraging news. Clearly, there is encouragement enough in the simple facts of new job opportunities, new retail choices and a variety of attainable housing options.

But the less obvious thing that is even more heartening is the implied message of hope that the continued development of Suffolk proclaims in the midst of the recession. Things will turn around, the business openings and announcements seem to say — and Suffolk is where we want to be when they do so.

Folks who live and work here already knew this, but it’s nice to have outsiders confirm it for us: Even in tough economic times, it’s a good time to be in Suffolk.