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Your view: Progress is seen

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Progress is sometimes slower than we would like, but it is still great when it happens!

It was great to read in the Feb. 27 paper about the upgrading of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center with the ability to get a four-year degree from Southeast Missouri State University right here in Sikeston. It seems like just yesterday that that corner of the Industrial Park was just being mowed by the city.

For the people who live and work in and around Sikeston, this is great news. As the cost of higher education continues to rise, the ability to stay at home and either get a degree or get the core hours of another degree before transferring to Southeast or to another Missouri university campus can be a real cost savings for many people.

Last year the voters of Sikeston approved an increase in the sales tax rate based upon three arguments: (1) We need more money in the Public Safety budget to continue the progress that has been made in the last couple of years; (2) We need money to clean up many of the old and failing buildings around town through the LCRA; and (3) We need some money to expand the Higher Education Center. At the time this was passed, it was a real leap of faith by the voters in many ways.

The concept of the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) is new to Southeast Missouri. So far it is a leap of faith that is really beginning to pay off as we are seeing some beginnings of the cleanup in several parts of town.

A year ago, an expansion of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center was a bit of a reach. The student population had grown at a faster than expected rate, but the physical facility was still getting the job done. With enrollment now well over 1,500 students per year, the center has become the largest off-

site campus for Southeast Missouri State University. Now with the ability to get a four-year degree, we should see that growth continue and hopefully an expansion of the facility will complement the expansion of the course offerings.

Once again, the voters of Sikeston have made the right choice!

Alan Keenan