By JEFF JOBE
Working together is a far better strategy for success than fighting one another. Or at least it’s worth a shot.
I have owned the Barren County Progress for the better part of two decades, and because of my work I have been pulled into so many disagreements it would be impossible to name them all.
Most came about because I found myself in a defender roll for the average citizen. Without a doubt, there are some who truly believe their way is the only way and it is a waste of time to even consider the community’s opinion on any subject.
Sadly, it seems some carry so much animosity they are poised to attack any idea they feel the other side may put forward.
Before I go further, let me say I often find myself in a position in which I am alone, and although it isn’t comfortable I believe truth is worth the fight.
I was alone in writing the City of Glasgow could not afford a $6.5M water park coming off losing major employers at the time. I was alone when I spoke up about how it would not be a good financial move to build a second entertainment venue at tax payer expense until we could better manage the one we have already. The Plaza Theater hasn’t reported a year losing less than $70,000 in over a decade. This is not at all a good foundation to build a project estimated to cost $300,000 annually in debt service alone.
Now here we are in 2022 and, yes, as in all towns we have small groups of individuals who might put themselves above the good of the community but for the most part we all want Glasgow to grow.
I wrote last week I was pleased to see the Mayor coordinate a town hall meeting with members of the community, Garden Club, Renaissance Committee, Historical Glasgow, Chamber, Sustainable Glasgow, Parks and Rec, and the Downtown Business Association.
This could be the beginning of something very positive for our community, and I am willing to do all I can to support the group effort.
Another positive sign for cooperation was to see the Downtown Park Committee and the Glasgow-Barren County Economic Development Authority compromise in an effort to utilize the Strategic Marketing Study as intended: to grow our economy by utilizing the city owned property to encourage private investment through multi-use development partnerships.
If people weren’t so nasty, it would be humorous to read on social media how a project with reported up to $700,000 of private investments match and another possible $300,000 for improvements to land owned by the city could not be an idea worthy of support for a farmers market and green space.
Of course, Sustainable Glasgow must step up and assure the tax payers they intend to maintain the facility and grounds. What a small price to pay for such a grand home poised to offer space and growth for locally grown and produced products. Without a doubt, this could become a regional center for small farmers and health conscience shoppers.
I am comfortable the city legal professional would make certain any pledges made were carried out and had some assets pledged to assure it. I’ve heard of other non-profits in our town not having all pledges honored.
This past week, I was accused of “rolling over” in regards to this project. These few individuals are as equally wrong as those who once said I was, “driven by hate” because I was against it.
Let me be very clear: I absolutely do not believe a water park or an amphitheater owned and managed by the same people who struggle to string downtown lights or update a billing system is at all a good idea. I’ll go so far as to say any leader who believes either will keep our kids home or would provide any economic development incentive for industry should step aside and let someone take the position who knows what they are talking about.
With Wes Simpson of the Downtown Park Committee giving his word to remove the large scale amphitheater, I am in agreement with Maureen Carpenter of Barren Inc. that having the front two acres landscaped with a green space, fountains, and a low lying farmers market building would make it much more attractive for builders to partner with the city in utilizing the remaining four acres along the outside as suggested in the Strategic Plan.
I’m hopeful 2022 will be a year of more teamwork, concessions, and cooperation. Just imagine how nice it would be to see a beautiful green space surrounded by new three-story buildings housing retail spaces on the first floor and condominiums for downtown living on the second and third.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.sckentucky.com