Let’s work together for better tomorrow
by Jack Mcneely
Apr 28, 2013 | 820 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jack Mcneely
Jack Mcneely
I chuckled the other day when I passed by the City of Jasper welcome sign just off Viking Drive near the entrance to Walker High School. Although it is a mere stone’s throw from our newspaper office and I drive by it frequently, the wording this time caught my eye.

“Working People, Working Together.”

If that were the case, there would be no “parking wars” downtown.

The parking lot owner recently cordoned off her public parking area at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 20th Street after the Walker County Commission opted not to renew the monthly $300 lease.

Now I hear it will cost the county at least twice as much to reopen the 37 parking spaces so that county workers could avoid the City’s renewed enforcement of its two-hour parking limit downtown.

In the meantime, the county is considering vacating its courthouse square office space for a brand new courthouse complex at the old airport location just north of town.

That will solve the downtown parking woes. At the same time it will turn that costly $300 parking lot lease into a multi-million-dollar project and crush downtown commerce.

I realize the current courthouse — constructed in 1933 — needs some work to improve its functionality. If the current courthouse does not offer enough space for county business, then why not look at leasing nearby vacant office space or perhaps build additional annexes?

Or better yet, if a new courthouse is needed, then condemn some eyesores downtown so a new complex can remain the heart of our county seat.

Let’s bolster downtown commerce; not quash it.

The commission’s decision not to renew the parking lot lease, followed by the council’s decision to enforce its two-hour parking limits with a $25 fine and then the commission showing interest in relocating the courthouse all appear to be related.

Of course, it could all be coincidental. But, I subscribe to the notion that even the appearance of impropriety is improper.

This is just one of several cases where there is an obvious lack of teamwork. If we are going to claim “Working People, Working Together,” then all partners of progress should practice it.

Jack McNeely is publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and may be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at jack.mcneely@mountaineagle.com.