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We all need to come together quickly

By By Paul Keane
Publisher
The past three or four days have been a roller coaster ride, to say the least, for both the city, its residents and myself.
I've been in touch with politicians, city officials, business owners and the average citizen, all with one topic in mind – the closing of the local Kmart.
To say this will be a harsh blow to the community would be a gross understatement. To say it is the death knell for the community would be a gross overstatement.
The statement that needs to be made is that everyone should come together – quickly and immediately – to not only try and save Kmart but to turn things around and really begin a huge, positive upswing in this community.
All the elements are in place – land on the interstate for industrial development, a downtown renovation project, Heritage Park, a caring community that does some wonderful things such as Relay for Life and United Fund, and a community that just wants to make things better.
But what I've been hearing over the past few days is everyone having the same goal, but taking different paths and having different agendas to obtain those goals. The bottom line is that everyone wants the same thing – to improve Atmore, keep a good retail base in place that will grow and provide jobs through industrial development.
The problem comes in when we have people reading different pages out of the same book. We all need to be on the same page at this time, putting together a united front to accomplish the goals that everyone wants to obtain.
I'm still new to the area, so any insight I could hand out would probably be a shot in the dark. What I can offer is simple: a common meeting place and a sounding board to bounce ideas off.
Just give me a call and let's try to set up some type of meeting here at the office. We've got plenty of space and plenty of chairs. I'll buy some snacks and drinks for everyone to enjoy.
Let's get a bunch of people from the city, the Chamber and business community to come together and talk things out. Not to gripe and point fingers or wring our hands in disgust, but to offer up some solid solutions to help us overcome this rather large bump in the road.
We may not solve problems, but at least we can share ideas and try to get everyone reading off the same script. It's worth a try.
Paul Keane is Publisher of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached by phone at 368-2123 or by e-mail at paul.keane@atmoreadvance.com