Port is project number one for city

Published 5:31 pm Friday, April 8, 2011

The Demopolis Intermodal Complex is a game changer.

It’s a life changer.

Most importantly, it’s a circumstances changer.

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The sheer impact in terms of jobs and opportunities this can create is exponential. It’s an opportunity like no other this region has seen before.

Thursday night, Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson presented the council with the possibility of a bond issue. The Industrial Development Board already has the approval to study the feasibility of securing and issuing bonds.

This will be the best and fastest way to raise the needed funds to bring this project to fruition.

Now the council must add this project to its ever-growing task list. Hopefully, it’s added at the top.

Municipal bonds are common. Barring corruption – locally, Jefferson County – they’re also a fairly efficient way to make things happen.

Each city councilman already has a full plate; each with their own agenda and a district to serve.

Let’s push that aside. Sure, each councilman has an obligation to serve their district. That means everything from pushing for speed bumps or asking for more police patrols.

But, in the grand scheme of things, if the city thrives so do the districts.

The Port should be the key focus of the sitting council. It’s feasibility and it’s future should consume whatever study time these men have.

This is more important than renovations at the fire station. It’s more important than paving a road. This is the project of all projects.

This intermodal complex could become the transportation hub of all transportation hubs. It could become a hotbed for rail, truck, air and water freight.

It could be one of the biggest and best complexes of its kind across the Southeast.

It’s that big of a deal. No paved road, no speed bump, no other city ordinance is in any position to do anything like that. Period.

The council will hold a work session Monday at 5:15 to further study what the city’s next move here is. Hopefully that move is getting behind it and pushing with both hands.

The greatest measure of success is looking back over your accomplishments and asking, “did I leave this better than I found it?”

After the coming election cycle and cycles, I hope Melvin Yelverton, Mike Grayson, Thomas Moore, Bill Meador, Mitchell Congress and Jack Cooley can drive down to a thriving port, look at all the men and women whom they’ve helped put to work and see the prosperity they’ve brought to an entire region and answer that question for themselves.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.