Part 29: Fit the Twenty-Sixth : I'm A Country Member
Fit the Twenty-Sixth : I'm A Country Member
Come 1955, I decided to ease back on the settlement of Pompeii, and had the city planners concentrate their efforts on Westshore, since, with the increasing demand for office space, I felt that allocating it there would complement Downtown and make use of the harbour views.
And just when I'd just about forgotten about him, the hippie was back.
Eh, it's Greville, isn't it? Long time no see. Still representing the Green Galahs or whatever you call yourselves?
Gaians. After the ancient Greek goddess of the earth.
Oh right, I think I liked the parrot idea better. But anyway, to business! What's your big idea?
I propose a draconian tax levied against enterprising yet short-sighted capitalists, my excellent friend.
Oh well now I'm not sure that'll go down too well, I mean, as you know I've worked hard to make Funkytown a cleaner city, but there are limits. Look, if you don't mind, I'm going to consult with my town planner. Hey Connie, what do you think about this?
Where do I start?
Did you say "bring lots of money to the city"? Oh, I think I've made a decision! Great idea, Greville! So glad you brought it to my attention.
And then I reached over and shook his hand vigorously while Connie rolled her eyes.
Uh, namaste, I guess...
And so Greville left my office, it seemed like he was all prepared to regale me at length about hippie crap and the Earth goddess and Jack Kerouac, but he ended up having an easy time of it.
Well. Did you even listen to anything I said other than "bring lots of money to the city"?
No, why? I mean, I can't see any drawbacks to the ordinance.
The industrialists won't be happy!
The day I see a happy factory owner will be the day lemurs start rollerskating around my office singing "Maybellene" in four-part harmony.
And so the expansion of Westshore continued, extending into an area that was proclaimed Balzac Point.
Since I was starting to run the budget a little more prudently, so that we could keep up expansion while keeping an eye on future projects, we had over §30k to spend by the beginning of 1956.
And, frankly, the Westshore-Balzac Point area was booming along.
We had trouble keeping up with the demand for housing close to the beach. Before I knew it, the population of Funkytown had cracked the 150,000 mark.
As if on cue, I heard Randall's whistling from up the corridor. He was clearly up to something, and it showed on his face as he entered the room.
Great news, Wal. We have truly arrived as a city.
In the big leagues.
Oh. That sounds expensive.
C'mon, Wal, it's baseball. Everybody loves baseball.
And the jerk began to sing "take me out to the ball game". When he got to the line that went "root root root for the home team", I raised a palm to signal him to quit it.
You're completely outdone yourself this time. Please explain.
The one constant through all the years, Wal, has been baseball.
SimNation has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again.
But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Wal. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Wal. People will most definitely come.
You sure about that?
Absolutely. To convince you of that, I've invited someone else along to argue the case.
And as I spoke, I heard someone else was approaching the office. I heard Beryl greet him and usher him in, and so he entered.
It was Bernie. He looked at Randall and winked at him, then he looked at me.
Well, this is exhilarating.
Boss, I've got this great idea!
Ahhh, the spirit of competition. OK, I already know what you think Randall but obviously I need to consult with you officially for some reason.
Yep. Well, I guess I have no other choice, we will build IT.
That's great, Wal, you're the best.
Eventually. But it's not going to be for baseball.
Nobody plays your goddamn baseball in this town. Have you seen the sporting fields? They're all laid out for soccer. So if we're going to have a stadium it's going to be a stadium built for soccer.
Oh. Might I ask, why?
OK, you know waaaay back when I established those first sporting fields to get people off the streets, and before you knew it we had several football clubs in town? A couple of those pioneer clubs, Lake Bunkley Regulars and Downtown Athletic, merged into Funkytown Rovers FC some decades ago and joined one of the regional leagues. They were promoted up to the state level, at which point they won the state championship and now they're in the national third division. They're a homegrown team, put together by the citizens of this town, and they need a stadium.
Well, that's very good. But...
Now, wait, I also had an offer from an owner from a professional baseball team, who, for various reasons, was looking for a new city to move it to, since the current city where they were based were refusing to pay for a new stadium. He basically implied that, if I were to build a stadium, he would come.
This'd be the Clavuanic City Rebels, right? Oooh, they'd make a good catch.
Maybe, maybe not. I'd rather not say. But who knows, maybe, in a few years, he'd want to take the team elsewhere. Maybe he'd get bored with his "hobby" and sell the team to some jerk who doesn't have his heart in the city. Maybe we'd build the damn thing, but because no-one in this town, aside from you, gives a jot about baseball, attendances would be poor, and the team would bugger off elsewhere. Leaving us a white elephant stadium that's in a stupid shape that's unsuitable for any other sport.
But everyone likes baseball!
As I said, the stadium will be built, but it'll be for a local homegrown team that the people love, rather than for a opportunistic mercenary fly-by-night carpetbagger.
That's harsh man.
I think what you mean to say is...
Uhhh, UP THE ROVERS!
Now you're catching on.
Of course, the stadium wasn't that cheap, though we would be able to afford it around 1960, due to our healthy financials. However, there was another recreational facility that I could lay down straight away.
The country club. I'd reserved this space for a long time, but the residents of Ashy Bend were impatient for the gap to be filled, and, because I reasoned they'd be just the sort of people who would enjoy golf, I gave them their goddamn country club.
It didn't really take up that much room, even though Constance seemed pretty adamant at the time that it was a waste of space. Besides, with the stadium on the way, the proles would also get their circuses too.
Not much else happened in 1956, once I thought the Country Club was an egregious expense, but these days it was relatively cheap.
Still, we'd have to spend a fair heap more money soon. Incinerator #3 was finally at full capacity, so a fourth was needed. I'd heard rumours about new facilities known as recycling centres at other places, where any salvageable trash was processed with any reusable materials set aside. But as yet, it was just a rumour.
So Ol' Smokey the Fourth was built, this time out at West Firetop, since a concentration of four incinerators at Greenfield would be getting a bit excessive.
And as the town grew, more and more roads would be needed to hook us up with our neighbours.
So, Beach Road was extended all the way to the edge of the city limits, of course paying Achewood to build their portion of the link.
The Westshore area was going gangbusters.
The city was now growing quite rapidly indeed, we were very much out of the doldrums.
And of course more people meant more cash, but that also meant more services needed to be provided to them.
Attention was turned back to Pompeii for a moment, and at this point it had stretched out into a new suburb, Firetop Reach.
More river crossings were also needed.
Thus, Ashy Bend was now provided with a direct link to Westshore.
And, a third museum, was build, called the Westshore Museum of Death for some reason. Another library was also built, after all Funkytown had a reputation to uphold.
Expansion of course meant power sources were pushed to the limit...
Fortunately we finally had a new kind of plant. We could now cook with gas. It was actually quite expensive per kilowatt compared with our existing plants, but it was also a bit cleaner. Also, because the cost of each plant was cheaper, it meant that we could build them at more incremental stages, even though each plant took up the same amount of space. I hoped something better would eventually turn up, of course.
The Hume Highway was also extended a short way, and the onramps reconfigured to serve Downtown better. Of course the highway would eventually need to cross the river to the north bank as that area developed, but for now the existing road bridges would suffice.
I had deliberately set out to make the parklands around Garden Square somewhat of a dress circle district, and I was heartened to see that my vision had paid off there. And of course the Rovers, who had spent the last forty or so years trampling the fields as they progressed up the SimNation football pyramid would finally have a home of their own before too long.
During 1959, I decided to spend as little as possible, so that the stadium could be built by 1960 using only a small loan.
Even so, I did have a road laid out from West Firetop to hook up with the Ashy Bend-Westshore Road, to provide another commuter option.
And so we had nearly 60 thousand in the bank. It would be nice if I didn't have to spend it on big stupid projects like the stadium, but Randall and others had deemed it necessarily if we were to enjoy our current rate of growth.
While the year of 1959 didn't see that much action, due to little infrastructure development...
The rate of growth over the past five years was astonishing. Funkytown had 30 thousand new citizens in that time, representing a growth of 4% per annum.
Even more remarkable considering the balance of housing density.
Of course most of the boom occured in Westshore, Balzac Point and the newly named suburb of Pismo Beach. Funkytown would enter the 1960s with a bang.
Sometimes I felt like I could get lost in the town, with the number of suburbs that were sprouting here and there.