Things are looking up in Sikeston, Mo.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

By just about any measure, things are looking up in our small little corner of the world. Hot on the heels of overwhelming voter approval of a sales tax continuation, ground was officially broken this week on a new Three Rivers College East Campus.

Combine that with the near-completion of a new steak house restaurant, the construction of a new motel, a new national chain pharmacy and a major distribution warehouse operation in our Industry and Technology Park, and you have the formula for a growing community.

Students returned to school here this week which will help to put focus on the school system's potential plans for a major school construction program.

All in all, there's ample evidence that growth has returned here.

But I am convinced that none of this happened by accident.

Before you can grow a community, you first must take an honest assessment of your needs, your shortcomings and your strengths.

Over the past decade, leaders within our community have recognized those needs and been proactive in tackling some tough issues.

First, our top-rated Public Safety Department has wisely used additional funding to address a crime problem that has shrouded our community.

Though we who live and work here may be surprised, some of our neighbors - especially to the north - have viewed Sikeston as a somewhat dangerous small community.

Some of that is based in fact; some in fiction.

But regardless, increased efforts by our Public Safety officers has resulted in major reductions in actual crimes and an improvement to that less-that-accurate reputation for lawlessness.

At the same time, voters approved a measure that would fund the removal of condemned and problem properties.

Those improvements are obvious to Sikeston residents and visitors alike.

And we have a secret weapon.

The Board of Municipal Utilities has partnered with the city on several fronts to help attract industry and much-needed jobs.

For that, the leadership at BMU should be commended.

I always marvel when former residents return here - as they will again for the upcoming Cotton Carnival - and are amazed at the changing landscape of our town.

They see instantly what too often we who live here take for granted. And in many ways, they see the progress more clearly than we do.

I could spend way too much ink going over other improvements and additions to our community.

But this much I know. We will all benefit tomorrow from today's efforts.

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