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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Council needs to commit to cleanup

Saturday, June 30, 2007

We should all be overjoyed by the announcement of new jobs coming to Sikeston and take time to commend our economic development effort for injecting this exciting advancement for our community. At the same time we should also commend Mayor Mike Marshall and Councilman Mike Bohannon for their spirited support of efforts to remove eyesores and problem properties from Sikeston.

Bohannon and Marshall were outspoken during this week's city council meeting concerning the slow pace of action toward removing these problem properties. And their point is well taken. It is a slow and often frustrating process to see dilapidated properties slowly crumble and ruin an entire neighborhood. The excuse is that the legal process to determine the ownership of these properties puts them in legal limbo. Bohannon and Marshall aren't buying that argument and we should not either.

It is truly concerning when you see properties that should have been leveled long ago but yet they still remain in their major state of disrepair. That is discouraging to our effort to clean up the town. And the last thing we need in this ongoing effort of revitalization is to watch the process move at a snail's pace. We need action and the summer is our prime time to remove these eyesores.

I can't help but wonder from time to time just how committed some of our council members are to this overwhelming support for change around here. Talking a good game doesn't count - it takes people willing to make a commitment without reservation. If our council lacks that commitment, we'll gain little ground on clearing the debris that condemn neighborhoods. And when a property is allowed to remain in a state of disrepair, it truly does condemn that neighborhood. On any level, that is simply unfair.

It was almost 10 years ago now that I said we lacked the resolve to change our community. Getting the funding ironically is the easiest part. But when it comes to making tough decisions and pushing for change, it takes commitment, it takes resolve and it takes agreement. Sometimes I think these elements are missing from some of those we elect to make these changes.

I am proud that some of our elected community leaders are voicing concern about the pace of our improvements. I hope all of the council voices join in that concern. If we permit a slow legal process to derail our efforts and sap our commitment, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen