A little gloom and doom for your consideration

A little gloom and doom for your consideration

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 8:01 pm
By: By Kevin Bowden

A little gloom and doom for your consideration | Kevin Bowden, Just A Thought

Just what does the future hold for Obion County?
It’s an interesting question.
We are continuing to feel the impact of the Goodyear shutdown (No. 2 in the state in unemployment is not something I want to brag about) and other than Titan Tire we haven’t had much good economic news to report. Add in the city vs. county conflict that has resurfaced and we really don’t have much positive going for us these days.
There are a few bright spots to consider — Discovery Park of America and the abundance of community festivals in the area. There was our recent county fair, the current CornFest activities, the Fulton/South Fulton Banana Festival later this month, the upcoming Obion County Cruise-In, Troy’s recent Pecan Festival and the Soybean Festival in Martin. There’s certainly no lack of things to do in the area.
But, there is that lingering question about Obion County’s future.
I remember when Vanity Fair came to town and the VF Factory Outlet opened on the north side of town. We celebrated the potential of the clothing mall and how many shoppers it would bring to town. VF was hailed as such a wonderful addition to Union City’s business community.
I believe I can safely claim the shopping mall in the city’s industrial park has hardly reached its potential. The mall sits alone in the industrial park with no other commercial development in that area.
When Discovery Park of America opens on the Goodyear bypass, what other commercial development is planned to go along with the project?
When tourists roll into Union City to tour the museum, what else is there to keep them here?
I guess I envisioned some new restaurants opening in town and maybe some tourist development.
While I’ve written about and photographed developments with I-69, it appears this new interstate is a long way from becoming a reality. The Cates Landing project in Lake County will certainly bring new jobs to the region next year, but it is Dyer County that’s positioned to reap the benefits from the riverport.
As a news reporter, I’m afforded unique access to the inner workings of the county and I’m concerned. Gravely concerned.
At a time when we need strong and committed leadership focused on the future, it’s nowhere to be found.
I remember having to type the phrase, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” I’m not sure about the significance of this phrase, but it seems very appropriate for us right now.
What’s it going to take to get things going?
Who and where do we need to be looking to get things going?
I truly believe Obion County needs a wake-up call.
I don’t know about you, but considering the state of affairs in Obion County, I’m not very optimistic about the future. And I want to be.
It’s becoming more and more difficult to find good news to write about and I’d like that to change.
I’m tired of such stories as Goodyear shutting down, the city’s municipal pool closing, KT Distributors caving in, the ongoing eyesore of the Reelfoot Packing plant, all the recent controversy over rural fire protection and Obion County ranked No. 2 in unemployment.
Positive change is needed and it’s about time we got the ball rolling … before it’s really too late.
The most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics show Obion County and Union City with declining populations, and that’s before the Goodyear shutdown.
If my column has stirred something in you or even made you mad, good. That’s my goal.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Margaret Mead, who said, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed that’s all who ever have.”
Here endeth the sermon.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 9.14.12

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