Archived Story

Alexander City stands at crossroads

Published 11:06am Monday, February 25, 2013

Alexander City stands near the beginning of a new year, near the beginning of a new city administration that has a new mayor and many new council members, and at the most decisive intersection in our history. Shall we have a bright and glorious future or shall we remain a town where one hears discouragement expressed in a great variety of ways everywhere one turns. The choice is ours.

Alex City, as we affectionately call our town, has a great and happy past.

We must remember it, cherish it and build on it but we must not live in it, or wistfully long for its return.

The past is gone forever, but it has happily left us an exceedingly firm foundation upon which to build and even better and happier future, but a future very different from that past.

Alex City is only one of numerous textile towns across the South where the textile industry had to depart for sound economic reasons, but only Alex City was fortunate enough to be not merely near Lake Martin but to have a portion of Lake Martin within its city limits.

Lake Martin is Alex City’s future! Alex City’s future lies in fully becoming and living up to its great and alluring motto “Gateway to Lake Martin.”

Fully becoming the beautiful gateway city to beautiful Lake Martin will necessarily require one thing and will necessarily cause to other things to happen.

It will require that we have chic shops and boutiques and a variety of attractive restaurants. Such shops, boutiques and restaurants in the town that is the gateway to the beautiful resort areas that Lake Martin has created will inevitably make Alex City vastly more appealing as a town in which to retire.

Every town is looking for new industry, but only Alex City has Lake Martin.

Having chic shops, boutiques and attractive restaurants and attracting new industry and becoming a most desirable town in which to retire all go together – and necessarily so.

The owners of new industries, as well as the owners of the many beautiful homes on Lake Martin, will all enjoy and be attracted to a town with such shops, boutiques and restaurants.

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that acquiring chic shops, boutiques, attractive restaurants, obtaining new industry and becoming a most desirable place to retire are necessarily inseparable. These goals cannot be pursued separately in a town so fortunate as to have beautiful Lake Martin so close by and a portion of it within its city limits.

But Alex City has a problem that can be likened to a handsome young man who finished the university with honors and with many other distinctions as well.

Though highly qualified and armed with a most impressive resume, this young man makes the gigantic mistake of going to interviews with his hair unwashed and uncombed, with two days of beard growth on his face, without a necktie and dressed in a quite wrinkled shirt, coat and trousers.

The bad impression he makes will almost certainly keep most, if not all, prospective employers from noticing his Phi Beta Kappa key or reading his splendid resume.

Any new industry considering a new or an additional town to locate in does ninety-five percent of its research on that town before they make contact with the mayor or other city official.

Alex City with its dreadfully maintained streets, roads and sidewalks with center lines and lane lines so in need of repainting that many feel these streets and roads are unsafe to drive on, with one side of Broad Street, right in the middle of the downtown section, so rough with numerous tiny potholes that one many feel he should have the front-end alignment of his car checked after driving down it, with a street that a strong wind months ago caused to fall through the roof of a house at the intersection of Houston and Forrest Streets still lying in the yard of the unfortunate owner of that house, with a tree that another strong wind several years ago caused to fall across Comer Street still lying beside that street, with dangerous intersections all over town that need appropriate traffic signals, with no crossbars to protect motorists and pedestrians at two railroad crossings right in the middle of downtown, with pedestrians unable to safely cross Broad Street at the Main Street intersection because the button that causes the WALK sign to come on does not contribute to making Alex City like the unshaven, shabbily dressed and ill-groomed young man, with prospective industries proving to be like prospective employers unable to see Alex City’s great assets in addition to Lake Martin.

Alex City now has a new city government.

For the sake of all our citizens and for the sake of the present welfare and future prosperity of our town, I earnestly ask that our new city government address and correct all the aforementioned problems, and nothing less than the present welfare and future prosperity of Alex City most literally depend its doing so as quickly as possible.

I earnestly hope that all of us will quickly see all over town work indicating that these problems are indeed being corrected.

Though our national economy leaves much to be desired, there are numerous towns in Alabama that are growing and flourishing. I submit that none one of those towns has a greater potential than Alex City.

Alex City has a huge number of very intelligent and talented people.

Alex City has many successful businesses and industries.

But sadly, Alex City has long had a city government that has ill served Alex City’s present and injured Alex City’s future by such negligence and omissions as I have addressed above.

But we now have a new city government.

I believe I speak on behalf of every thoughtful person of goodwill in Alex City when I earnestly entreat our new city government to get busy and correct as quickly as possible all of the critical problems addressed above that Alex City might join that group of happy, growing and flourishing towns in Alabama.

Alex City has everything needed to attract all that we do not presently posses that will enable us to become one of the most interesting, beautiful, economically broad-based and successful towns in Alabama.

We ask that our new city government not fail us by continuing to neglect the critically important matters addressed in this letter.

Bill King is a guest columnist for The Outlook.