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There's nothing like seeing people appreciate their homes.
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It's a new assignment for me, and it's a lot of fun because it gets me out of the office to meet some interesting people. I also get to learn about all sorts houses, from those that exist only in a developer's mind, to those that have been lived in for hundreds of years. Did you see the story about the dome home?
It's the perfect time and place to be covering the real-estate and construction industries. Not only are they strong around here, they have been credited with keeping the nation's economy from falling off the chart as it limped though 2001 and suffers through the aftermath of Sept. 11.
No matter what your view of the Fredericksburg area's expansion over the last decade or two, whether you lament the sprawl or celebrate the growth, you can't deny its news value or that the changes to the region's landscape continue unabated.
Once you get past the controversies associated with the area's growth, and the cold, nuts-and-bolts stories about interest rates, investment opportunities, and insulation, you get to the really important stuff: the joy and pride people take in their homes.
A recent such story had its beginnings when I noticed a row of three homes being built on a hill in Mayfield overlooking Dixon Street. New development in the city's older neighborhoods is always interesting, and I figured the construction of these houses would make for a straightforward story about some new homes going up.
Going by recent experience, I should have known better:
A story I thought would be about an expensive old house changing hands on Caroline Street turned into a fascinating history lesson about the earliest days of Fredericksburg.
A story I thought would be about some new housing wedged into an available lot along Lafayette Boulevard turned into a look at efforts to provide barrier-free housing for the area's disabled.