Give a little for a change
Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2004
On Tuesday afternoon, Attorney General Troy King came to Atmore and met our citizens at the Watson Cabin in Heritage Park.
What King found there was a picturesque area with lovingly restored historic buildings.
On his drive through town, he surely noticed the renovation of the storefronts happening near Joey's furniture.
Maybe he noticed the blooming flowers in planters along Main Street, or the colorful American flags and banners waving from our street lights.
Perhaps he saw the construction of a new credit union building in town.
Yes, King may have had a nice visual introduction to our town.
Maybe King didn't notice the dilapidated buildings still in town. The chain-link fencing surrounding junked vehicles parked on dead grass.
Perhaps he didn't notice the number of stores that close early on weekends or don't open at all.
Many people are rightfully proud of the beautification efforts that created those planters and the volunteers who plant those blooming flowers.
They're rightfully proud that our downtown doesn't have many "holes," where businesses left, and the building was eventually destroyed because it had deteriorated so badly.
They're proud Atmore doesn't have the "hustle and bustle" of a big city with 24-hour mega-malls and miles of featureless parking lots and snarled traffic.
Naturally, they get a little defensive when others point out, accurately, the vacant stores, the lack retail shops beyond basic needs and the limited business hours of some merchants in town.
There's a tendency of those who see the town's potential and those who see its defects to entrench, refusing to see the other's point of view. The discussion often degrades to finger-pointing and a "what have you done for me, lately" type of attitude.
If we're to move forward as a city, we need to move forward from these entrenched positions and begin real discussion.
More importantly, we need action. To that end, we applaud those who are truly making things happen, like the business owners along Main Street who are taking advantage of low-interest facade improvement loans from First National Bank in Atmore.
That's work that's happening right here in town and we can see real, tangible results from it.
We encourage all of Atmore to find ways to contribute. Only by doing will we see improvements.