As I read through the city and associate court news this week, I began to realize that the combined efforts of some concerned citizens are beginning to have a true impact on our community. Arrests for noise violations, for weeds and trash and for drugs are definitely on the increase. In some ways you can trace that effort back to a letter to the editor that appeared in this newspaper.
As a community we've acknowledged that some of our residential property is in massive disarray. Trash litters homes and others stand in disrepair beyond the imagination. But for far too long we simply ignored these residences because they were not in our neighborhood. But that is beginning to change. Arrests for public nuisances are on the rise. In the long run that has got to have a positive impact.
Sikeston also adopted a noise ordinance to stop the boom-boxes from dominating the landscape. And sure enough, arrests are beginning to have an impact there too. I even had a conversation this week with a resident from another nearby community who was hoping their city would adopt and implement a similar ordinance.
And then there's drugs. The drug culture had virtually swamped some sections of Sikeston and, though they remain a major problem, the city is beginning to make inroads into that problem. If the courts will now do their job - and we'll be watching - then some of these drug dealers who prey on our community will soon be residing in Jefferson City and not plying their trade on our streets. What a relief!
It seems, though I can't pinpoint the specifics, that there is a growing level of cooperation among those involved in improving our community. There's promise in the new form of government and a renewed sense of concern coming from city hall. But it began with a citizen-led effort to reclaim Sikeston and to return a level of pride here. I still signs that those movements are under way.
But just like all initiatives, it will take a resolve among the residents to continue this improvement trend. We cannot and must not allow ourselves to bask in the glory of recent accomplishments. We must be diligent in our efforts to address substandard property, in our efforts to remove drugs from the streets and in our efforts to restore a level of communal pride. It just takes faith and hard work.
I was labeled this week as being obsessed with the housing issue in Sikeston. I take issue with that assessment. I am obsessed with taking back Sikeston from an element that has no regard for the law or the rules of civilized society.
Those who flaunt those abuses should be invited to leave Sikeston.
I see great hope and promise ahead. But hope and promise come about through hard work and dedication. These recent improvements are a sign that our community is willing to work toward that end.