Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Sky Is Falling.......NOT !

Saturday was a beautiful spring day in downtown New Albany! The sun was out and the temperature was perfect for a walking tour seeing and hearing about the history of many of our vintage buildings. As such, I learned many things that I had not preveiously been aware of.

For instance, I didn't know that the very first store front plate glass window manufactured in America was done in New Albany! It was made here by John B. Ford and installed in the Heib Building in the 1870's! It remained in that location until 1934 when it was retreived by Mr. Ford's descendants and taken to their residence in Michigan where it is in one piece today. I'm told that the etching of the name Heib can still be seen!

I learned that during Woolworth's tenure in our fair city, the concept of a cafe inside a dry goods store was conceived of by one of our local citizens and became the model for Woolworth's stores around the nation.

Better yet I discovered that those delapidated old buildings downtown, most all of which were standing in water during the 1937 flood, are far from being ready for the bulldozer! They are just sitting patiently waiting for an infussion of cash and a little tender loving care. Truth be known, they will probably outlast most of us in spite of our propensity to destroy them for more modern asthetics.

My point is this. New albany has always been a progressive city regardless of efforts by some to prevent it. That is just its nature and of all the things in life that man can alter and change, nature just ain't one of 'em.

Scribner Place is going to happen! The Greenway Project is going to happen! Linden Meadows is currently happening before our very eyes! The only mysterys are (1) Are these projects going to look anything like the way they were originally envisioned? and (2) Are we as a community going to be patient enough & wise enough to allow them to grow and flourish in order that the city can reap the potential benefits from them? I sincerely hope that the general consensus is yes to these two questions.

Like it or not we are in fact a part of the metro area. Resistance to that fact is futile at best and a total waste of our limited time and resources at worst. Likewise, like it or not, we are as a nation part of a global community. We no longer have the luxury as a country nor as a city to think we can stand alone. It therefore behooves us to put aside petty, childish behaviour and work together to make our city attractive to those who have an excess of those resources we are in short supply and desparate need of.

From my involvement in local affairs over the past few months I have concluded that we all want about the same things. Safe streets, clean neighborhoods, affordable housing, better jobs, more profitable business opportunities, better police & fire protection, better health care, an efficient working sewer system, and the list goes on. Yet when anyone comes to the table with a workable, cost efficient plan for acheiving these goals, we square off and go to our respective corners waiting to see who is going to throw the first punch! Get over it ya'll 'cause none of us gets everything we want! However we can all walk away with more than we had to start with if we so choose. I think that's called a COMMUNITY or better yet, that other nasty, vile, word a NEIGHBORHOOD!!

Many of us are working diligently to merge those two words into one viable, constructive entity. Many more of us, for reasons that baffle me, feel threatened in some way by that prospect and are working even more diligently to prevent it from happening. That adds up to a lose/lose situation in which nothing gets done but the bills keep coming due. Fact is, we are going to pay either way. What we get for our investment is up to us as a city.

So here is how I personaly choose to deal with this dilemma;

A) If I have a question for a city department or elected office holder, I'm going to go to that individual and ask! Answers such as "I don't know" will be followed with "Why not ?" or "When will you?" I'll not apologize for requiring my elected officials and/ or their hired personell to do their respective jobs!

B) When I get the answers, the facts to back them up, and a resonable time frame commitment for action to be taken, I'll step back & see what transpires. If they follow thru, I'll commend them both privately and publically. If they don't, I'll be right back in their midst asking why!

C) I'm going to continue to work with those whose goal is to remake New Albany into a clean, fun, and profitable place to call home.

Does this mean that I have an (here comes another nasty word) AGENDA?? Damn'd straight!
That being to see this lovely old river town live up to, as much as possible , its potential. If there is one thing in life that infuriates me more than wasted time & resources, it is unrealized potential! It is in my mind, the very greatest of sins.

Does this mean that I have any political ambitions?? Far from it! My veiw on that subject is that once a person is in any elected position, he/she ceases to be anything but a representative of all of the people as opposed to just those who got him/her elected. As such, I have no more business in that arena than does a full blown alcoholic in a Jim Beam warehouse!

As for the nonesense that is going on in the local blogisphere, I'll share a bit of wisdom from my childhood. The countryfolk I grew up around used to say that it was far better to remain silent and let people think you were ignorant that it was to open your mouth/keyboard and remove all doubt.

Still another antecdote was that opinions are like posterior body orfices; everybody's got 'em but no one else wants to see or hear 'em! I'm not advocating censoreship but rather pleading with all to get your facts straight and be honest enough to stand behind them with valid documentation.

Or for those of you who are too self centered, dumb, drunk, or stoned to understand otherwise, sit down and shut up! You're rockin' the boat and scarin' away the fish!

Now, where is that beer??

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Neighborhood By Example!

I've just returned from the Silver Grove Neighborhood Association 2nd Annual Open House and I must say I was impressed.

It was well organized and most if not every city department had representatives present to answer questions or listen to concerns as the case may be. They did so very graciously I might add!

There was also a very nice display of the history of Silver Grove for those of us who were unfamiliar with the area. Jim Munford got an autograph on one of the photos in the collection from a 90 year old lass who just happened to walk up and see herself as she was in her youth.

The mayor was present as were city council members Ms. Crump, Mr. Seabrook, and Mr. Messer.( I hope I didn't leave anyone out!)

The atmosphere was pleasant, the refreshments were delicious, and it appeared that everyone had checked their guns, knives, and politics at the door!

Well done Silver Grove! May we all follow your lead!