Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bits & Pieces: The time is now

Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller
khutson@grovesun.com

The time is now.

I've heard those words multiple times in the past three days, as community, business and city leaders gathered to ponder the future of downtown Grove.

Hiring Ron Drake as a consultant, to come into Grove to assess downtown vacant buildings, was good. What happens next will determine if the city's downtown becomes great.

From conversations swirling around about the visit, it appears that it did what Chuck Perry and others hoped.

In Perry's own words, Drake's visit lit a fire - a desire if you will - for many to see something major happen to revitalize and rebuild downtown Grove.

In fact Perry hopes in 10 years, Grove residents will look back and say, it all started in January 2016.

Nothing happens though, in a vacuum.

It's going to take the entire community - young and old - to bring change to Grove.

Change is hard, it's messy, and at times, frustrating. It's hard, especially for those, like Dr. Larry Stout and members of the Grove Chamber and Grove Area Merchants, who have worked tirelessly for years to make things happen.

Let's face it, many in Grove are exhausted. If we let it, this visit will become just another consultant, providing ideas that sit on a shelf, growing dust.

Ultimately, Drake's visit has provided some inspiration. It appears the ideas have given people of all ages hope for things to come.

What happens next will take perspiration, money and time. It will also take the entire community, pulling together, to make a difference.

It's time for others to stand beside Sam Williams and his iconic Sports Center, Jim Serage and the newly established Second Kick Cycle Works motorcycle museum, and other downtown businesses owners.

It's time for people of all ages to say "you've gotten us this far, let us work beside you to take our town to the next level."

So what will this mean? It means buyers and sellers must find a way to work together; it means we must embrace new ideas which breathe life and creativity into our historic buildings.

It means Grove residents must embrace, and support, local businesses - new and established by shopping local, without automatically choosing to leave town or order online.

It means all of us, young and old, look for ways we can help with the process.

The spark of excitement is there. What we do next determines if it erupts into a raging fire of opportunity.

Former President Ronald Reagan may have summed up the thoughts best, in his acceptance speech on July 17, 1980 at the Republican National Convention.

"The time is now, my fellow Americans to recapture our destiny, to take it into our own hands."

To this I would say, the time is now, my fellow Grove residents. Our destiny, our future is in our hands. What will you, what will I, do about it?

This column was previously published in the Friday, Jan. 22 issue of The Grove Sun.

Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller is the managing editor of The Grove Sun. Have an idea for a column or story? She can be reached at khutson@grovesun.com or 918-786-2228.
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