My Turn, Liv Gardner: It’s time for a facelift

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 30, 2023

Re: “Mook’s Place: China Grove Mural (April 16):

I’ve lived in China Grove for all my life.

When I was younger, I loved the town. Popcorn shrimp from Captain’s Galley and the cloggers from Farmers Day kept me eager to visit Main Street year round.

Yet as I grew older, the tiny community I had always loved began to lose its spark.

Restaurants closed, it became obvious how many businesses on that single street were struggling, and the traditions I had always loved weren’t the same.

When I got to college at High Point University, only 45 minutes away, no one knew of the town that had built me. It only took a couple months for me to start telling people that I was from Salisbury or Concord before China Grove.

As I came back to visit, I became less and less excited to see the same places and eat the same food that I have for the last 20 years. It was boring, monotonous.

Then, out of the blue my sophomore year, I saw a change.

A mural.

As soon as I heard that it was up, I drove to see it.

It was big and dark, beautiful and new and exciting. Like pink flower buds on the trees in the spring, it was the physical symbol of new life. It was the most exciting thing to happen to town since our first coffee shop a couple years back.

It blows my mind that people want it gone. Even if it doesn’t match the tradition of the town, it is serving a larger purpose.

That mural is the only thing stopping China Grove from being another drive through town on the map.

This start should be the first step in a rejuvenation project that has been long overdue. I think it’s time we stop yapping about a mural, whether you think it’s ugly or not, and realize that this town is withering away and is in desperate need of some creativity quick.

Liv Gardner is from China Grove and attends High Point University.