December 29, 2018 10:23:09 PM
Welcoming a new year in is a communal event. Whether we toast it with champagne or snooze through the countdown, it's a shared experience. So we asked around the Golden Triangle: "As 2019 approaches, what would you wish for in your community in the new year?"
It's understood that we all hope for world peace, and health and happiness for our families and loved ones. But what would we like to see happen where we live? This is what a few of you said:
"A couple of wishes I would have in regards to Main Street and Downtown Columbus would be to continue to drive the retail side to continue developing strong, solid strategies to enhance our downtown. We are all about growth but must not lose that personal hometown touch that most of us are accustomed to.
I would also wish that sweet Mother Nature could be a little more kind to us in 2019 in regards to downtown community events such as Market Street Festival.
Personal wishes would be better traffic flow on Highway 45 (North), especially on Fridays. I'm not sure why traffic is so much heavier on Fridays than Monday through Thursday.
I would also love to see an Outback Steakhouse come to town, just simply because I love it!"
Senior vice president, BankFirst Financial Services
Incoming board president, Main Street Columbus
"It is certain that what I desire to see happen in my community in 2019 will coincide with others who live in this area. There are two things I would like to see come to pass in 2019.
The first thing I'd like to see is a variety of national brand stores come to Columbus to fill the empty retail spaces I see in Leigh Mall and other places around the city. (By the way, it broke my heart to see Kmart go out of business.)
I am dreaming of several national brand stores locating in our area such as Kohl's, Marshalls, Home Goods, and Bed, Bath and Beyond, just to name a few. Surveys have shown that the traffic of shoppers coming to Columbus from neighboring counties and western Alabama would support these businesses. I believe the additional sales tax increase could be used to repair our rough-driving city streets which are not too pleasant to drive on, and it gives visiting tourists and prospective homebuyers the impression that good driving streets are not a priority with our city and county officials.
Secondly, because my youngest son and wife recently lived through that major 7.2 earthquake in Alaska while serving our country in the USAF, my desire is to see them relocate to a Southern state in 2019. I prefer them relocating to maybe Georgia or Alabama, so they can visit more frequently than they do now. My son and wife have lived in Alaska approximately three years -- and that's long enough!"
Local history assistant, Columbus-Lowndes Public Library
"Life in West Point is just plain fun! My hopes for 2019 may seem somewhat trite, but I believe that for every investment of time, energy and creativity, the return on investment will be tremendous.
I hope to see:
People sharing the beauty and character of West Point, whether it's through an Instagram hashtag, Facebook page or a personal photo project.
Folks planting trees and creating surprise gardens -- shade, color, beauty. Trees and flowers add so much to the urban landscape and ask so little.
Families fixing up the porch and turning on the light. Brighter and friendlier reflect the true West Point spirit.
Drivers slowing down. Driving just 5 mph slower might save someone's life.
Neighbors being neighbors. A neighborhood feels pretty special when we know we're all looking out for each other.
Volunteers spending a few hours pitching in doing their part to make West Point a better place.
Smiles and waves, particularly at strangers. If you are feeling especially Southern, actually speak. It instantly makes the world a better place. And after all, isn't that where we want to live?"
Design Committee chair, Main Street West Point
"One thing I can think of is that young people need more things to do other than bowling and movies. Those get boring really fast (and expensive). So when they get bored with that, what are their options? Too many turn to things they shouldn't be involved in.
Navigating the busy commercial part of Highway 45 North would be a lot safer if lane lines were repainted. A cousin visiting a few months ago said there are places that, if you don't live here, you wouldn't know where to go, especially at night when the road surface is wet.
And we could really use a bright street light at the exit for 18th Avenue off of Highway 82 West, near Chick-fil-A. It's a major exit to restaurants, hotels and shopping, and at night it's very dark, like we're trying to keep it a secret.
Crane operator, Caledonia
"I would like to see more opportunity to connect to Asian-American associations, if there are any in the area. Being from out of town, and even country of origin, connections with such organizations help to feel more like home."
Owner, Klara Haloho Store, Starkville
"I would like to see two things happen in our community: (1) Commuter rail service between Starkville and Columbus, and (2) a major Broadway production such as, or including, "Hamilton." (By the way, we are going to Chicago to see "Hamilton" later next year.)
A personal wish would be to do a moonlight bicycle ride from Starkville to Tupelo, full speed, with minimal stops and lots of friends."
Retired associate professor, Starkville
"I just wish the city and DOT would put a left turn signal going west on Waverly Ferry Road from Highway 45 North."
J. Dee Mckay
Freelance sound engineer, Columbus
"It's time for the dreaded New Year's resolutions! This year, I am making resolutions that I know I will keep. I have decided to go all out, Golden Triangle style.
I'm going to eat. I resolve to sample as many of the locally-owned restaurants in Starkville, Columbus and West Point as I can.
I will exercise more. I can work off all that great food by exploring many of the locally-owned shops in the GT area.
I'm going to party. In looking at the 2019 calendar, there are a myriad of festivals and local events in our area. For example, Market Street Festival and the Tennessee Williams Tribute in Columbus, the Cotton District Festival in Starkville and Prairie Arts Festival in West Point.
I will become a homebody: Spending more time in the GT area supporting our local businesses, shops and restaurants is my goal.
The Golden Triangle cities have so much to offer. Let's make this a year of celebrating us."
Louisville High School teacher, Starkville
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.