Archived Story

Seeing signs of progress

Published 1:43pm Monday, March 4, 2013

Have you ever noticed that quiet, confident, good feeling you get when you know where you’re going and you know it’s just a matter of time before you arrive?

When you’re traveling, you may get that feeling because you’ve been down the road before and arrived in good order. But you can also get that feeling when you’re riding down a road for the first time … if you see enough signs pointing to your destination.

I’m seeing signs that our community is heading down the right path.

Our new city leaders are settling into their new jobs and doing well.

In District 2, where I live, Sherry Ellison-Simpson is going above and beyond the call of duty. She’s personally going out on weekends, picking up trash, and hand tools, to clean up our city. That’s the kind of positive get-up-and-go that will make our city a better place. It’s also a good example of leadership by action, not just talk.

And it seems to be catching on.

I’m happy to say that several members of the newspaper staff will be out at Wind Creek State Park cleaning up the beach with John Thompson & Co. from the Lake Martin Resource Association this morning. On Friday, Outlook employees were emailing and talking about it in the building – there was actually excitement in the building about going out and volunteering to pick up trash. I’m hoping the same thing was happening in other businesses around town.

By the way, all hands are welcome if you’d like to help spiff up one of our area’s top public areas.

Those are just two recent, small signs.

There are more.

I’m inspired by our new Chamber of Commerce president, Ann Rye.

If you have not met her yet, Ann is a person with high standards, high hopes and high energy. In my opinion, she’s a person who has the potential to make a real positive impact in our business community – and our community in general. She’s focused on bringing new people and new business opportunities to Alexander City and I believe she will succeed on a big scale.

It’s just a matter of time.

I’ve seen and heard good things about our new Mayor Charles Shaw, and not just about how he’s doing the public parts of his job. I’ve also heard more than one person say he’s spending lots of time listening and learning – a vastly under-rated skill that many people in new jobs skip at great peril.

Better yet, I’ve heard several people say Charles has already rolled up his sleeves and gotten involved in quickly solving problems that could have become a tangled ball of red bureaucratic tape. That’s the kind of word-of-mouth publicity that I think is invaluable for our city.

Several organizations are putting up the right signs.

CP2 – pronounced  “CP squared” – is an organization of people who passionately want to help Alexander City stay on the right course. They gather regularly at Queen’s Attic to talk about problems and opportunities and work on solutions. Often, CP2 will invite speakers to address the group.

When citizens are willing to give up their private time to help frame the important issues in our community, our community benefits. And I feel like CP2 offers everyone a good way to get involved and help be part of the solution.

The Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance is now developing a plan to help market the greater Lake Martin area for industry, including the softer tourist and retirement “industries.” People who have moved here are being asked what we need to do to bring more opportunities to our area. I’m seeing many people around town working hard, investing time and energy and expertise into the effort.

And it’s frankly very exciting. It’s early in the process, but I think the Alliance is onto something that could pay big dividends to the Lake Martin area in the long run.

I know we’ve had a rough time of it here. We suffered a one-two punch that would have KO’ed a lesser community: losing 6,500 jobs and enduring the Great Recession in short order.

But I also know that our community has everything it needs – the resources, the people and the desire – to thrive again.

And it’s a good feeling to see the signs as we travel that road together.

Boone is publisher of The Outlook.