Demopolis needs to come together

Published 7:09 pm Friday, July 12, 2013

By Mayor Mike Grayson

“I am you as you are me and we are all together” – Lennon / McCartney, The Beatles “I Am the Walrus”.

We are all together, what an awesome concept. Possible, yes; probable, no.

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If we could all get together, wow, what a powerful force that would be. Imagine the energy, the creativity, the sheer magnitude of force that would/could be unleashed.

I will use as an example the recently completed Freedom on the River and Hwy. 80 Songwriter Festivals. It is amazing what a relatively small group of volunteers were able to accomplish. The Demopolis Chamber of Commerce pulled off another very successful FOTR in the face of less than favorable weather conditions. One of the most encouraging things was that a new item was added to the agenda, the BBQ cook-off.

The cook-off, the brainchild of David Anderson, was well received and attended. This goes to my point that if we can get people thinking and doing things a little out of the box, anything is possible and realistically very probable.

The first ever Hwy. 80 Songwriter Festival was put together in a relatively short period of time, roughly four months of planning and prep went into this. A small cadre of volunteers, Laurie Willingham, Woody Collins, Jenn Tate, Mike Rogers, Garrett Baker and Morgan Grimes made this thing happen. Couple this with the work of DPD Chief Tommie Reese, DFRD Chief Tommy Tate and Public Works Superintendent Mike Baker and you have talent and energy pushing us to success.

This event was a scratch operation coming from literally zero in terms of sponsorships, performers and event logistics. This underscored my belief that people will come to Demopolis if you give them a reason. The overwhelming majority of performers and visitors commented to me, “Demopolis is an absolutely lovely town. It is so clean and we love this downtown area.” Several of these even went so far as to say, “man, I can see myself living here”.

These comments have only firmed up my belief that we are on the right track. I would describe our position as to being in the dating/courting mode. Usually when a young gentleman decides he would like to make the acquaintance of a young lady, he will take a shower every week or so whether he needs it or not; he will brush his teeth on a sporadic basis and maybe even put on a clean shirt. In short, he will attempt to clean up.

We are in the courting mode. We are courting the world. We are sending out signals that we are a clean, safe and vibrant community. Our message is, “think about us when you are looking for a place to put a business or expand. Think about us when you searching for a place to live and raise a family. Think about us when you are just looking for a spot to spend some time to relax and/or play.”

I have been asked, “Mike, why do have so many policemen and firemen,” or, “why do we spend so much on flowers and horticulture?”

The only honest answer I can give is because we choose to do so. I believe this is what we must do in order to separate us from ‘wannabe’ points of destination and allow us to compete with similar communities across the world. My desire is for Demopolis to be the real deal.

In the very near future we will be having our third meeting of Downtown Demopolis Revitalization in the next few weeks and I would encourage everyone to attend and participate.

Together, we can be an awesome force.

Together, we can make a difference.

Together, let’s make something great happen for our town.