Simmer down, Summitville.
Before another shouting match ensues over revitalizing Main Street, as it did July 26, think about the future of this tiny town of about 1,090 in northern Madison County.
And think how some caring, forward-thinking residents have worked diligently to restore the downtown area.
In 2002, the Summitville Main Street Organization was founded to help re-spark downtown development with new streets, better lighting and handicap-accessible sidewalks. In 2009, the town council signed a $160,000 contract to complete engineering work. The organization has worked steadily to get grants. Yet, at a previous meeting, council members did not pass a motion to proceed with funding.
The move was seen by revitalization supporters as an attempt to shoot down the project.
Outsiders see it that way, too.
One council member, Wayne Small, said there was some hesitancy to proceed because some members wanted to see where the town was going to find additional funds for the project.
Summitville Main Street Organization co-founder Dee Amos explained that the town could get a bond for the remainder and at most would have to spend a little more than $21,000 a year. The town receives at least $24,000 in taxes from the state’s riverboats, she said.
It sounds as if the organization has the proper answers. But Amos and Small got into a heated discussion that drew in other residents and council members.
Tempers flared into other council discussions. The night fast became a lost cause.
After working eight years on a project to improve one’s hometown, anyone could understand why emotions flared. Now’s the time to extinguish that wildfire and relight a positive discussion on the town’s future.
Summitville is too small and too neighborly to let this night of anger gnaw away at residents’ hopes for a better town.
Wiser heads should prevail. Both the town council and the Summitville Main Street Organization have caring individuals serving the town’s best interests. This is no time to let questions over details, which seem to have workable answers, dash residents’ realistic dreams.