Commercialism. A bad chapter in our history. Great rampant balloon dolls, funnel cakes -- it gave the city an amateurish, non-Olympic feel. Our city officials were so afraid of making any bad impression that they turned themselves into perpetual wannabes. But as a waiter, that 18 percent gratuity on every check was a killer.
A significant amount of growth. The city grew from a large Southern city to a world city. We got recognition. The city is now looked as a metropolitan place rather than ... being slow and Southern. The professionalism of the city increased. But we now have huge traffic problems and the population grew faster than the city streets and housing were ready to accommodate.
The revitalization of downtown: People aren't as afraid to come downtown as they used to be. There is so much more to do. We now have a beautiful park where kids can play in, the World of Coca-Cola moved in, we have Ambassadors, and new neighborhood development came out of it. And for all the bad-mouthing, the Sydney opening ceremonies were nothing compared to ours.