Looking for the vision
Published 11:24 pm Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Life is continuing to move forward for Atmore in the wake of Ivan. As Mayor Howard Shell likes to put it, today was a better day than yesterday.
We certainly hope the todays of the future will prove better than our present.
With Monday's vote in finalizing the acquisition of 235 acres at exit 57, the city is now in possession of a significant amount of property at what could be the most strategic intersection this city has.
The question now is, what do you do with it?
The idea currently put forth is to create a commercial and industrial park area with most of the property.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians would like to move forward with their plans for a casino style resort and entertainment complex on their property at that intersection.
But as Tribal Chairman Eddie Tullis told the Advance in an interview this summer, the tribe's plans could be seriously hampered by the city's choices in land development at the Interstate.
Obviously, you'd rather not have an industrial parts plant next door to your resort, which is trying to attract tourists.
Both tribal and city officials say they have been in talks about their respective plans, and we applaud that. But what we haven't seen is a cohesive, big-picture vision for the area at exit 57 that includes both tribal and city lands.
Chairman Tullis offered his vision in an interview with the Atmore Advance this summer. Certainly the details are subject to change, but the vision is there. There is a goal, stated in terms people can visualize for themselves.
So far the city has not publicly offered its own vision for its property. All the public knows so far is that the city has indebted itself to the tune of about $4 million to become the largest landowner at exit 57.
Hurrican Ivan's long-range economic effects are yet to be known, though local business leaders are positive. They are looking toward the future.
Certainly we shouldn't ignore our current situation, but perhaps it's time the city got back to planning for the future as well, and produced a vision for the land north of Atmore, somethig that could inspire and excite.
We've invested in tomorrow, let's make sure it's better than today.