City needs less talk and more action

Published 7:01 pm Friday, April 1, 2011

The topic that dominated most of the discussion during Wednesday’s Town Hall meeting was the proposed Port of Demopolis.

The concept is great. Adding such a site would be immeasurably beneficial to the city as it would utilize one of the town’s most unique resources, its rivers.

Developing the port would lead to the creation of new jobs, the opening of Demopolis to other outside entities and undeniable growth both physically and economically.

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Most of the talk Wednesday was favorable. But it was all just that, talk.

There is an old proverb about the best laid plans of mice and men that seems applicable here. There is also a less than genteel colloquialism about getting something done or getting off the proverbial pot. That also seems applicable here.

Demopolis leadership has a history of coming up with some great ideas.

Unfortunately, there is also a history of procrastination interspersed with the occasional negligence. The facts are simple. They stare us in the face everyday.

We have been told time and time again that the recession is over, a statement that was declared after we had previously been told there was no recession.

All indicators to the average citizen of the Black Belt point to the fact that there was and still is a recession.

And try as it may have, Demopolis leadership has not had a lot of success in job creation.

The inability to create new jobs means the inability to bring in new people. The inability to bring in new people means the inability to bring in new money. The inability to bring in new money leads to a lot of bad things, like the loss of needed services at the local hospital.

As a city, we are currently at the fork in the road Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson referenced near the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting.

The problem is that neither branch of that road is familiar.

We have often thought that we could choose to grow or choose to stay where we are. Unfortunately, current economic conditions and the trends we are seeing in Alabama’s Black Belt seem to point to an inability to maintain. Demopolis has to either make concerted efforts to move forward and accept the obligatory growing pains that accompany such things or opt to abandon delusions of advancement and continue to accept the status quo. It should be noted, however, that maintaining the status quo in this climate will bring with it shrinking pains.

It is time for Demopolis leadership to utilize its natural and manmade resources, as Grayson pointed out, and to make the most of the ingenuity and creativity of its brightest minds.

There is no more time to procrastinate and prolong decision-making in favor of participating in futile debates that are good for little more than chewing up time and wasting opportunities.

Otherwise, we can all just call a spade a spade and accept that the City of the People will soon become a city of what could have been.

Jeremy D. Smith is the community editor of The Demopolis Times.