Small investments could make the city better

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 28, 2006

Griffin Pritchard / Managing Editor

There are places to go and visit for a newcomer to be able to feel the pulse of a community. Some places are restaurants, stores or Web sites.

Demopolis has all of those, so far has helped me, as a newcomer to the community try to get a finger on what’s going on in and around the area.

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While surfing the other night, a question was posed on that if a bowling alley was built, resurrected here, would anyone support it.

The replies, for the most part, were a resounding yes.

From what I’ve seen in the few months that I’ve been here is that Demopolis is a great town with potential to be an awesome city.

It’s got a great movie theatre and the people are probably some of the friendliest that I have been around in a long time.

The Sportsplex is a great feature for the city and – in some cases – it’s showcase point.

Same thing goes for the Ravine, it’s a great tool for people to use, but at the same time it’s seasonal.

Those things are wonderful tools to use to get people to come to visit Demopolis.

With addition of a new bowling alley, that would also serve the city as a showcase, but more importantly, it would be an opportunity for families to have something to do, together as a family, especially in the off-seasons when it’s too cold to play baseball/softball or golf.

From some research I’ve done, the city used to have a bowling alley located in the old antique building next to the Great Wall Chinese restaurant. But that has been at least 15 years ago.

With the way that businesses have grown up around Highway 80, a bowling alley that was on the highway, not hidden and clearly visible would be successful. However, land prices around that area might make it more feasible for the establishment to be located two or three blocks away.

“I have had at least four or five people come into the Chamber/IDB office with that as an idea,” said Jay Shows, Executive Secretary of the Industrial Development Board. “Of the five or six that have walked in, only three were only disciplined to go far into it.”

This would also be an economic boost to the city, as well as create at least five-10 jobs for the area.

Another thing that might be a success here would be an Adventureland, like in Dothan.

Now, I’m not talking about a full-fledged themepark like Alabama Adventure.

Adventureland is a simple creation that some entrepreneur could model.

The way the one is set up in Dothan is with an arcade, two 18-hole miniature golf courses, a go-kart track that’s over a mile in length and several batting cages – baseball, fastpitch softball and slowpitch softball.

From a business aspect, Adventureland in Dothan carries 30 part-time slots and five full-time job-slots year round.

“I would love for someone to come in and sign a note on a new business,” said Shows. “We would work hand in glove with anyone interested in pursuing the idea and see how far in the process they would be wanting to go.”

Demopolis is in a great location in West Alabama.

Like the cornfield told Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, “If you build it [they] will come.”

Also, keep in mind that these are great places for college students to visit and with where the city of Demopolis is located, having recreational sites could bring business in from other communities.

Business like the two examples I’ve given would be great for an area that is already swelling with positives.

All it takes is one person to make an investment in the future.

It’s that simple.