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OUR OPINION: I-85 extension could be great for Demopolis

Without doubt, there are some legitimate concerns to the proposed I-85 extension that would connect Montgomery to Meridian, Miss., via a route that could possibly run just south of Demopolis.

Thankfully, much time remains for those with concerns to seek answers and express reservations.

The firm charged with the corridor study for I-85 seems genuinely interested in doing this the right way. They know what Gov. Bob Riley should know &8212; this interstate is meant for the benefit of this region of the state, not it&8217;s detriment. So it is a reasonably safe assumption that they will seek to choose the most acceptable route for this longterm project.

That said, any of the proposed routes will upset some. That is the inevitable by-product of progress. And while it may be easy for us to say such when we have no property to be lost in the project, we are committed to holding those in charge accountable for their decisions going forward.

Nonetheless, we see great benefits in the I-85 extension project. While we experience slow and steady growth along the Hwy. 80 corridor &8212; unlike our larger neighbors to the east in Selma &8212; we know that there are limitations to our greater success without interstate-quality infrastructure to attract better jobs and more businesses.

We encourage all citizens to educate themselves about this project and become involved in the future public hearings. This project may take many years to come to fruition, but the work being done now holds great ramifications for future decisions.

If you are against this project, let it be known. If you are a proponent, stand up and be heard. And if you have questions, please seek out those who know the answers.

We will cover with great interest the developments of this project, and so long as it continues to unfold in a responsible manner, we&8217;ll champion it for the sake of our communities.