Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

June 28, 2014

Some sights have me asking ‘really?’

One of the things you’ll hear over and over again if you go to enough meetings, listen to enough chatter — or read enough Facebook — is the need to clean up our city.

Reports have been given, committees formed, drives started, and best intentions stated.

And ... the conversation continues ... and so do the weeds, and the shacks, and the cars in the yard.

I drive past some very visible areas every day going to and from work, and have to shake my head at what I’m seeing.

Example: a great big, valuable vacant lot that’s been mowed along the right-of-way, yet generally grows well beyond the city mandated 8-inch requirement beyond that.

Another: Downtown lots that have (for years) been littered with unsightly storage buildings just a stone’s throw from our “historic” courthouse.

More? Just saw this one Friday: a city employee mowing a lot that was so overgrown, the Realtor’s sign advertising the property was barely visible.

I remember several years ago interviewing two individuals who spearheaded the “Strategic Planning Group” at the request of then-Mayor Buster Brown — a group that has since disbanded with some of its projects “morphed” into subcommittees of the Chamber of Commerce.

The story was about the group’s efforts to help make progress in the appearance, the marketing, the promotion, and the future of the city.

But the one quote that still sticks in my mind today is “All we’re trying to do now is to get people to stop parking in their front yards.”

Forget about the parking in the yard complaint — I’m guessing we’ll just have to live with that one, for now anyway.

As recently as this month the city has said it isn’t clear on how to enforce the ordinance it passed prohibiting it.

Another “head-scratcher” has come up that I have no answers for as well — apparently we have a new 18-wheeler parking lot just a couple of blocks from our “historic downtown” that’s taken up  residence in the vacant convenience store at the corner of Seventh and Seventh.

It’s across the street and down a couple of blocks from the now-vacant “doublewide restaurant” at Seventh Avenue at the railroad tracks that’s even closer to our “historic downtown.”

I’ve been told in the past that the now-vacant “doublewide restaurant” is in compliance with the rules governing the property its on. My guess is I’d be told the same about the 18-wheeler parking lot, if I were to ask.

We ran an article a couple of weeks ago about some very forward-thinking folks that are pouring a ton of money into developing the downtown area and those folks deserve a lot of thanks and credit for doing so.

They also deserve better than they have for a “welcome mat” leading into that downtown area.

To be sure, this isn’t just a “Corsicana” problem — but it is “our” problem.

I had occasion to get a good look at the western approach to our fair city on Highway 31 this past weekend.

Parts of that approach have never been the kind of stuff you’d put in a visitor’s brochure, to say the least.

But I do believe the view has gotten worse — mobile homes that are in various stages of “peeling” and other such “eye candy” leading to the city limits.

Sadly, I don’t think there are any county regulations that would govern that.

What is my point on bringing up all this today?

Squeaky wheel, my friend, squeaky wheel — and trying to find a few good volunteers.

Squeaky wheel, in that maybe some areas will get some attention.

There is a committee to work on beautification efforts in the city, and they could use some like-minded members to get their project moving forward.

Contact me here at the paper, and I’ll point you in their direction.

                      —————

Bob Belcher is Managing Editor of the Daily Sun. His column appears on Saturdays. He may be reached by email at

bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com

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