I want to tell a story. Actually I want to tell 2 stories. One involves a little history lesson and the other is one that underscores the first one. I have done a little research and although not nearly complete and probably full of some holes , it starts from a place about 75 years ago in a small community outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It was a true sustainable community of citizens and neighbors, businesses, industry, schools, retail stores, places to eat, services and an overall place to call home with a true sense of community. There was a Coca-Cola bottling plant outside of town, at least 3 manufacturing plants that delivered dry goods to various faraway destinations, three banks and grocery stores. Insurance agents, doctors, lawyers, dentists, pharmacists, mechanics, more than 5 gas stations, a car dealership and an overall thriving sustainable economy. The police and fire departments were well funded, the churches were well attended and people walked everywhere….everyone knew everyone. However, over a period of many years, things started to decay, businesses and industry closed, jobs moved elsewhere, people moved and shopped in other cities and the economy slowly deteriorated. The community seemed to no longer have the sense of cohesiveness that it once had in its heyday.
I know many of you will read this with a sense of irony or remiss, perhaps even some nostalgia for what once was. I see it from a point of view as an outsider looking in. I have been welcomed and feel that true pride still there. Watertown, TN and many communities like it were once that place. It once was a thriving sustainable community where everyone relied on each other to thrive and succeed. That getting ahead had less to do with how we acquired and more to do with helping their community succeed as a whole by keeping everything local. What was good for the community was good for everyone. Our current economic environment is forcing many of us to rethink how business is done now. The vision for Watertown and many communities like ours hinges upon the willingness to work together to see a vision for what our future success must look like, how that vision is articulated and how it can be achieved. I believe we are right at that precipice of really doing some very special things, but that is going to require some change and the complete participation of every member of our small community to take advantage of the opportunities that are ahead of us. There will be challenges to be sure and there will be many projects that will require some tough decisions, in order to be able to continue to provide the services and improvements that go along with maintaining that quality of life we have grown accustomed.
A new East Wilson County high school breaks ground in less than 2 months and new businesses are already looking to expand and/or move to this area. New neighbors are looking at our area for growth and our enviable way of life. We have something in our area to be proud. However there will be challenges and responsibilities that come along with it. It is up to our leaders to bring forth a plan and vision so that we control our future. I will be working as promised at the beginning of my term with our county, city, business and civic leaders so that we can carefully craft a plan and vision for Watertown and I will be relying heavily on input to properly put together a cohesive plan.
This brings me to my second story. As many of you know, I speak often of how our community works together despite our differences. I recently had the pleasure of chairing the Music and Arts festival earlier this month. It was a spectacular event that was well attended. The music was fantastic with a great mix of blues, jazz and rock and roll. We had great artists on display and our guests were treated to some real Watertown hospitality. Additionally, the 4th of July festivities were a perfect reflection of how a community can come together for a great cause and show how much fun and pride we take in showing our true American spirit. Both of these events came together primarily because of the commitment of members of our community and their willingness to work hard to make both of these events a tremendous success.
Finally, I wanted to point out some of the merchants in town and their willingness to go the extra mile to help. I recently have had several personal experiences for which I am very grateful. Fletcher Tire, M&C Tire, Three Forks Market, Watertown Hardware, The Drug Store, Pam at the Library, Brenda @ Gypsy Moon, Lynn and the girls at Wilson Bank, Jim’s Antiques, Pat and Donna @ Sun Graphics, Michael and Colette and Visionary Design, Mi Ranchito, Nona Lisa Pizzeria, Greg and Linda @ Mom’s Place, Loretta @ Town Square Antiques, Watertown Hardware, Robin Vance and The Shippers have all been generous with either their time and /or kindness to help me and I know many others in town. They should be recognized for going the extra mile and making sure their customers always come first and lending a helping hand for so many in an otherwise tough time. Please take the time to visit and thank them and all the businesses in town for their kindness and generosity. We thrive in large part because of their stewardship. I offer each of them my personal thanks for providing the foundation to help make this a great community!
Until next time