Kids probably won’t see U.S. 80 paving

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

If you’re a parent and you have a young child &045;&045; we’re talking real young &045;&045; take a look at that child. In who knows how many decades, that child probably will be fighting the same battle we’ve fought for almost 50 years now.

Chances are, one of your children will become mayor of Demopolis. One afternoon, while your child is in his mayoral office, the CEO of a major company will make a phone call to city hall and ask to speak to your child &045;&045; the mayor.

The CEO will talk about a new industry he’d like to bring to Demopolis. He’ll talk about the 500 new jobs and the millions of dollars his company will donate to the city. He’ll talk about single-handily raising the median income for families in Demopolis by $10,000 a year.

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Your child, as the mayor, will welcome the accolades. Then he’ll invite the CEO to take a visit to Demopolis.

The CEO will arrive at the Demopolis Municipal Airport in his jet and realize he was right about Demopolis. The town will look clean, the airport will be in good shape and the people will be friendly.

When the CEO leaves the airport, he’ll see the enormous Gulf States plant to his right. He’ll tell the driver he wants to see the industry, and his driver will head west on U.S. Highway 80.

Upon approaching Gulf States, the CEO will notice a road sign that says the four lanes become two. He’ll scratch his head for a minute and ask the driver if U.S. 80 really is a two-lane road.

The driver, a Demopolis native, will say "yes."

The face of the CEO will change.

Then, the CEO will pick up his cell phone, call the mayor’s office and explain that he can’t operate a company his size in a town that doesn’t have a four-lane highway.

Then he’ll tell the driver to go back to the airport.

As citizens of Demopolis, we must continue to push Alabama legislators and Gov. Bob Riley to do something about getting U.S. 80 four-laned. Already, this city has lost one major business because of our transportation system, and we never know who will call tomorrow.

If we don’t continue to pressure state officials to fulfill a promise, this town will never grow.