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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

You’ve probably never heard of a place called Canandaigua, New York unless you’re from that area. It’s located in the Finger Lakes region and about half an hour from the city of Rochester, NY. Before moving away for college, I lived in Canandaigua my whole life; I lived in the same house and went to the same school. I have loved my town. It’s small, quiet, safe, and a relatively close community. However, in the past few years, I’ve had to witness a sort of unique tragedy: the conversion of my small town to a tourist destination.

Of course, I recognize the benefits of the aforementioned reconstruction. Economically, it generates more revenue for the city. Socially, it creates more publicity. It hasn’t been all negative, but there are definitely some changes to my city that I would reverse.

There has been a giant hotel constructed, which residents lovingly referred to as the Birdcage while its exoskeleton sat marring the gorgeous view of the lake for over seven years. Numerous apartments have also been built over a few shops and restaurants on the lakefront, while the next-door lot sits empty and fenced off for future projects that have no funding. The main street has changed from a small town, with local geared shops, to prioritizing tourist revenue and merchandise.

The Lake House is another popular spot in Canandaigua. So popular, in fact, it’s ranked 30th in the world for hotels. I’ve been there myself. It’s gorgeous, and it screams tourist attraction. It blocks a lot of access to the lake for actual city residents. This hotel is the epitome of an aesthetic Instagram post. It attracts a lot of out-of-towners.

The concert venue, Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) has always drawn in quite large crowds. But in recent years artists like Maren Morris, The Lumineers, Hall & Oates, Dave Matthews and Keith Urban have pulled in significantly higher numbers. The traffic before or after one of these concerts is nightmarishly unimaginable. From one end of the city to the other, cars are bumper to bumper for hours at a time. Locals not attending the concerts can hardly leave their driveways on these days.

I recognize the selfish, gatekeeping of it all, but I also feel the need to protect and shield the relatively small town from the threat of outsiders and tourists. My dad has lived in Canandaigua his whole life, over four decades. He’s seen the city change even more than I have. When my dad was growing up, everyone knew everyone. He and his brother couldn’t walk down the street without being recognized several times. Now, you walk into a local restaurant and realize you don’t recognize one single person.

My dad also remembers a time when the residents of the town were prioritized. There used to be an amusement park in my town called Roseland. Before it became a corporate monstrosity bent on gleaning parents of their last dime, it granted public school kids in the area free entry. They would even get arcade credits if they presented a stellar report card.

I worked on the lake for two years, right next to the public beach. From the humble concession stand, I watched as people left trash on the beach and in the water. I watched people burn the grass and rip it up to pitch down their tents.

Some people think it’s a good thing. There are a lot of Facebook fights over whether or not this conversion is positive. I can’t say for sure if it’s a good or bad thing. But I have felt a bit sad, and a tad betrayed while I watched the old local charm fade away as Canandaigua became a tourist attraction.

Delainey Muscato is a junior journalism major with philosophy and sociology minors. This year she is excited to be the brand deal manager, assistant events planner, and senior editor for the SBU chapter of Her Campus. In her weekly article for Her Campus, she usually writes about her personal experiences at college, as an intern, or just in life. Delainey is excited for her second year as a member of Her Campus and can’t wait to help new members be just as engaged in the club as her. Outside of Her Campus, Delainey is a very active journalist. She writes for a newspaper in Ellicottville, The Villager. These articles typically detail local events or highlight people in the area. She also just began writing for Tap into Greater Olean. This news site covers stories directly rooted in the Olean and Allegany area. This summer, Delainey spent five weeks studying abroad is Sorrento, Italy. In her free time, Delainey loves to spend time with her friends and family. She spends a lot of time reading on her porch at home. Delainey also loves to take her dog Nella on walks. Her favorite TV shows are The Office and Friends. Her favorite movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. She also loves music and spends a lot of time discovering new music and perfecting her playlists. www.linkedin.com/in/delainey-muscato-b10134282