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Cleaning a community notebook

Odds and ends, bits and pieces and an observation or two about Greenville from the new guy still trying to find his way around town.

Thanks, first of all. Southern hospitality is alive and well hereŠfriendly folks, smiling faces, upbeat attitudeŠit's a dose of Small town, America at its best and a legitimate reason the area has such a positive reputation statewideŠnot to mention the recognition as one of the country's best small towns anywhereŠyep, I think the Darlings are going to like it here.

Getting to know you is funŠjust wish you'd stand in the same spot longerŠwhen you're &#8220out of place” it challenges my name and face association linksŠ

Like both the &#8220City of Smiles” and &#8220The Camellia City” slogansŠhave met Ed Jernigan, the camellia man with deep Auburn tiesŠand must admit all the area tulips are pretty tooŠcommunity pride is evident by all the manicured lawns and trash-free streets.

Outlook appears bright with progressive thinking leaders in key rolesŠfolks like Mayor Dexter McLendon, County Commission Chair Jesse McWilliams, economic development director Rick McLaney, school superintendent Mike Looney, Main Street director Nancy Idland, LBWCC president Dr. Ed Meadows and Greenville campus director Dr. Jean Thompson and hospital executive Bobby Ginn a strong nucleus for the futureŠhiring a chamber of commerce leader who matches those talents and adding a new, permanent LBW local leader will add even more depthŠand hopefully, The Advocate will continue to make a positive contribution, tooŠ

Unified, visionary leadership is essentialŠInterstate 65 will only grow in importanceŠas will workforce development programs at LBWCC and the commitment to kids in schoolsŠimpressive that commissioners made the difficult (and proper) call to increase taxes for educational reasonsŠfocus now must also center on more parental involvement.

Feels like governmental agencies are on the same page, working togetherŠthat's significant and a huge advantage when controlled growth and quality of life issues are being targetedŠ.

Yes, I've been to the Boys and Girls Club building in Beeson Park for meetings of the Kiwanis and Rotary ClubsŠyes, I've been to the chamber office at impressive Depot ParkŠand yes, I've attended a business after hours function at Prissy Britches and Bella Salon and Spa on CommerceŠyes, I've been to Cambrian Ridge, but not for golfŠit's a great place for lunch and an even better site for large, community meetingsŠand what a majestic view from that marvelous verandahŠand no, I haven't been to The Ritz Theater, yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing what I understand is a true showplace.

I'm learning correct punctuations, like HonoravilleŠI'm finding surprises, like the old Lomax Hannon College site on South ConecuhŠand I'm asking the same questions as you, like widening the Greenville Bypass is a great idea but why not four or five lanes instead of just three…

Finding a place to eat while living out of a motel is easier than I imagined, but I haven't found that special morning coffee spot where community decisions are debated and issues are resolved or that spiffy shoeshine stand, yetŠ

Have noticed a lot of walkers all over townŠthat's a good signŠwouldn't be a bad idea if I joined them, I knowŠor found the workout room at the YMCAŠsurprised public school students wear uniformsŠseems like gasoline prices are highŠand houses are hard to findŠan enterprising developer and construction team would likely find sudden success hereŠ

Places like The Chef's Table and Tomatoes etc. are unique community additionsŠimpressive that so much growth activity is under way in the Wal-Mart areaŠbeautiful homes on streets like College and Fort Dale can hold their own against any placeŠnever take for granted the local airportŠrecent improvements only enhance its value to blue-chip companies like Hwashin America Corp.

Haven't been to church here yet, but there are reasonsŠour family remains in Cullman, preparing for the move, so last-minute details there are requiring weekend travelŠplus, we want to visit as a family. Our preferences? A church of the heart more than a particular stack of bricks, so this may bear deeper explanation at some point. We come as Methodists, but we've been active over the years as Disciples of Christ, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and BaptistsŠ

Glad the courthouse clocks are showing the correct time, againŠhave learned small town traffic jams exist at the intersection of Fort Dale and Interstate 65 and on Fort Dale Road near the elementary schoolŠyou have to like Sherling Lake Park, by the wayŠso peaceful and sereneŠ

And downtown Greenville? What incredible potential, maybe sufficient to rival even that of historic Franklin, Tenn., a southeastern model that proves old and new can exist successfullyŠthat loft living is becoming a reality only increases the opportunities for added charm to an area anchored by churches, banks, attorneys, retail, food and government servicesŠ

So, like our many traveling friends, we know Exit 130 for its House of Turkey, its luxurious golf course and its impressive new high schoolŠonly now, we know it for so much moreŠit is a place of history and heritage, of beauty and charm, of future and potential, of opportunity and prosperity, of classy folks and anticipated new friendships.

That we are excited to be here is easy for us to say. Hope to see you soon.

Ed Darling is president and publisher of Greenville Newspapers L.L.C. He can be reached at 382-3111 or at ed.darling@greenvilleadvocate. com

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Cleaning a community notebook