Community has one chance for first impression

Published 10:06 am Thursday, February 7, 2019

Every car driving into Lincoln County could hold the key to an even brighter future. The next visitor could be the one to plant a new seed of growth within the community.

To achieve our greatest potential and attract development and entrepreneurs, the county must always put its best foot forward. This starts with how downtowns, the entrance, streets, private properties and the entire community looks to newcomers.

Visualizing the diamond in the rough becomes difficult for developers or potential residents when all they can see is vacant storefronts and poorly maintained property.

Stanford has seen an impressive turnaround in recent years, and it is time to build on that.

This is just the first step.

Our elected leaders must provide the tools for change. Officials must make sure that all the current property maintenance laws and codes are being enforced and that Lincoln County’s neighborhoods look as good as they possibly can.

A visitor will not remember all the beautiful, historic homes and buildings or amazing downtown of Stanford. He or she will only focus on the dilapidated structure that becomes a blight for an entire block and whole neighborhood.

If a property owner refuses to comply, we need to gently nudge them to so. If that doesn’t work, we need to ensure there are laws in place with enough teeth to push harder.

We understand our county has limited resources, but keeping the community beautiful should always be of the highest priority.

In the rural parts of Lincoln County, outside city limits, zoning must still be either enforced or implemented. Without a clear set of guidelines, it becomes difficult for people know what they must do.

Junk cars, dilapidated homes and makeshift landfills are eyesores that destroy the beauty of our community. These problems must be eliminated.

Historic preservation is important as well, something we must be more deliberate about — as long as it doesn’t trump common sense.

Each time someone visits our community, it could be our last chance to make a good first impression.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Interior Journal. He can be reached at (859) 759-0095 or by email at mike.caldwell@theinteriorjournal.com.