I woke up early and met a friend at the Sherman House for breakfast. Upon returning home, I laid down as I had only four hours of sleep the night before. With the TV on, I was restless and found myself thinking about the economically depressed Borger, Texas town I left the night before with its many empty downtown buildings and Batesville.
In the background I heard the Pope say that the church was overly pre-occupied with negative issues. Inspired, I leapt to my feet; if the Pope can tackle the elephant in the room then maybe we should as well. I’ve been reluctant as the subject is sensitive but now feel it is too important to remain silent.
Little known is that Batesville has a new reality that began arguably 5 years ago. Much has been learned about how towns in these tough times either recover or slowly continue downward. Some of those indicators: affluence is leaving, kids with drugs, once a “safe-town” now weekly we hear about local crime, 30 buildings empty, homes turning into rentals, consolidation of local power. These are facts. Now, our hopes for a better future rests largely on speculation that an $8-9M building project might bring a few manufacturing jobs. Is this solving or adding to our problems?
I have spent that last nine years undoing the horrible effects of those types of solutions to these types of problems. Is that all this great community can come up with? I don’t think so and many others agree.
Is reelection the motivation for this lousy idea – “If it looks, walks, and quacks …”? We need new thinking for the old problems our town now faces and our Mayor must be kinder to people that have opinions different than his.