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Southern Eyes

It's the best time of the year to write a column: the holidays just ended and a new year is beginning. The possibilities of expressions are endless. But my mind seems to be filled with something else. My head feels like a jack hammer is inside. And no, I didn't indulge in too much New Year's celebration. The jack hammer is actually right outside the window behind my chair.

For those who haven't driven through downtown Thomson the last few weeks, the downtown revitalization project is going full-force. After being in the planning stages for years, the new parking lots, sidewalks, trees and streetlights are becoming reality.

It was reported in The McDuffie Mirror in July that the delays to begin the work ended up costing more money as construction costs escalated through the years. Don't tell the city officials, but there is a solution to making up those expenses. They could actually charge businesses for their services. I know, I know - the business people being affected by the construction have had nothing but headaches since it began. I've heard complaints of loss of customers, electricity and telephone service in addition to the tremendous noise and mess. And I couldn't agree more.

As I sit here trying to work, the loud noise prohibits any telephone calls or interviews. But the jack hammer-induced vibrations on my feet and in my seat are something that's normally charged big bucks for at a spa. If I just sit back and close my eyes, the vibrations could take me farther than Calgon ever promised. And the noise is drowning out every depressing thought that's entered my head in the last 10 years - better than a therapist any day. I'm not sure if "revitalizing" is the proper term. But since I call myself a Christian and a lady, and this is a family newspaper, we'll have to settle for it.

Just as important as the streetscape is the buildings themselves. Nothing repels new life more than empty and dilapidated buildings. Some property owners are trying to join the party and fix up their buildings. Sadly, there are still too many owners who are not.

Whenever I have put a house on the market, the first thing the realtor did was make suggestions to make the place more appealing. Do Realtors or property owners in downtown Thomson not follow their own advice? It's something they have to do. Not just for the pleasure of our eyes, but for the life of our city. Money-making events such as festivals and tournaments do no good if there's no businesses in the city to make tourists want to stay or come back. Citizens don't want to remain if there's nothing to keep them here. And if this realization isn't sinking in, there's a worker right outside with a jack-hammer that could help out.



Web posted on Thursday, January 03, 2008













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