From the Editor: The Lights are Bright!

From the Editor: The Lights are Bright!

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. And that’s a good thing!


I read an article in The Atlantic earlier this spring titled Why Cities Work Even When Washington Doesn’t which provided a hopeful review of some rising and shining cities across the country that aren’t being stifled by negative rhetoric or pessimistic pedants, but by strong mayors and visionary city leaders who are leaving the legislative bickering behind and focusing on their very own “main streets.”


“The good news,” the writer penned, “is that once you look away from the national level, the American style of self-government can seem practical-minded, non-ideological, future-oriented, and capable of compromise. These are the very traits we seem to have lost in our national politics.”


Agreed! Even though the writer didn’t stop in to visit OUR vibrant community {those visited were Greenville, SC and Burlington, VT}, the commentary made me think of what is being a accomplished on our city streets here in small-town America that not only flies in the face of the national nay-saying, but presents a real-life scenario that is not only regionally significant but globally of note!


In their book Reimagining Greenville: Building the Best Downtown in America, local author John Boyanoski, details how Greenville has brought an assortment of restaurants, national and local retail outlets, high-end hotels, bars, theaters, in-town residences, public art, and riverfront pathways to what had been a boarded-up crime- and drug-ridden area. “In the urban-planning world, noting that Grenville has a walkable and gracious downtown is like mentioning that Seattle has good coffee. Why? Strong guiding hands from city hall,” the Atlantic article reports.


In the examination of both these culturally disparate but economically similar American cities, there were strong town-building similarities. “The waterfront is very important to the character of each town. Thirty years ago both communities’ riverfronts were unattractive and off-putting,” the author noted. “The shopping, cultural, and recreational life of each city and surrounding region centers on a lively downtown. As for the waterfronts these were deliberate public-private creations. Led by strong mayors, each city changed the physical look of the street, redid parking arrangements, commissioned public art, ran concerts and fairs, and took the lead in bringing new life to a battered downtown.”


Sound familiar? That’s because strong visionary leadership is alive and well in Paducah, KY—from economic development, to tourism, to a new and energized main street mission, to enlightened urban planning. There are bright lights ahead for a community dedicated to reimagining the possibilities and then creating a walkable pathway to reach its potential!



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