Andrew Knight, owner/operator of the Agora, placed an ad (June 30) outlining his reasons for leaving the area, which were an honest depiction of the low self-esteem existing in Lewiston-Auburn.

In my 53 years, I have traveled across the United States. Maine is, by far, the best state. My particular corner, Lewiston-Auburn, would shine if everyone put away their negativity, as Knight described, and worked together to improve Lewiston-Auburn’s image.

Knight mentioned several positives — low crime rate, restaurants offering diverse cuisines, and a growing cultural diversity. He obviously saw enough that he chose to invest in the area. He could easily have mentioned more positives — the Great Falls; walking trails with magnificent views of the river; summer art walks; the Balloon, Liberty, and Emerge Film Festivals; the Dempsey Challenge, etc.

Despite that, negativity exists, most coming from “true Mainers.” They mention “crime,” but the crime rate is going down; “immigrants,” yet cultural diversity is an asset and there are many thriving ethnic businesses in Lewiston; or that  “Lewiston is dirty.” That may have been true 40 years ago when the Androscoggin flowed with noxious foam, but that has changed dramatically.

I am proud of Lewiston-Auburn and take time to point out the positives. When someone points out the not-so-good, we should look for ways to dispel those stereotypes, not reinforce them.

As long as the “real” residents of Lewiston-Auburn continue to accept negative beliefs about the Twin Cities, we will never break the stigma of the “Dirty Lew.”

Eric Terrio, Lewiston

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