Column: Future initiative starts with present

The master plan of the 212 Exit has begun the process of being devised, and it will be necessary along the way for the residents of Chilton County to share their (constructive) input with IDB Director Whitney Barlow and the architects overseeing the project.

There will be a trio of public meetings July 15, 16 and 25. Each of these meetings will start at 6 p.m. and will be held in the Alabama room at the Alabama Power Building in Clanton.

It is important and encouraged for the public to attend at least one of the three meetings.

There was a decent turnout at the kickoff meeting on June 27, with about 20 attendees. However, that number doesn’t seem quite as big once you factor in that six of those present were council members or commissioners.

I expect many more to be in attendance during the public meeting sessions, if for any other reason than to be a part of history.

As I took notes at the meeting, I found a smile suddenly come to my face at times.

It was my mind realizing the magnitude of the situation that I had the opportunity to be a part of.

It made me think of the many great moments in history, both state and worldwide, that began the same way with several people coming together to hash out ideas around a room.

There are many people that have questions surrounding the project or what may result in property they own around the site.

Are you one of these people? If so, you desperately need to make time to be at one of the public meetings so that some of your questions can finally be answered.

If you are passionate about the county and its future, why would you not want to attend at least one of the meetings?

It is in the best interest of the county and therefore in you and your children’s best interest in the long run.

There are several residents still with concerns about the project. I will tell you that if you go and give the proper time to listen to the architects and those in charge explain it, you will have a much better feeling about it.

These are people that do this sort of work for a living and I advise hearing it from them before jumping to conclusions.

I understand that even though the times are on three different nights, the times may still conflict with work and family schedules.

In this case, if you can have a family member or friend go and listen to the presentation and take notes for you.

However, if you are fully capable but choose not to go to any of the public meetings, it is difficult to complain about Chilton County’s future direction when you didn’t take the initiative to care about its present.

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