Spring cleaning and we're on the way

Friday, May 31, 2013
Murray Bishoff, news editor

There's something about photos of tornado damage that prompts some people to think, "Gosh, I'm thankful my yard doesn't look like that." Then, occasionally, some poeple might also think, "You know, my mess might not be very big out back, but I can do something about it."

In the new version of spring cleaning, motivation remains the key to getting started, even if it a natural disaster has to serve as inspriation. We all have yards that need manicuring. Many have garages in alleys that could use a scraping and often a new coat of paint. Don't wait for the building inspector's office to come around with a frown. Take a Saturday or two and make something better.

Monett gardeners have done an exceptional job this spring brightening up their spaces. A splash of flowers can transform the whole neighborhood.

This week the media has been full of stories about John Q. Hammons, an extraordinary man who spent much of his time thinking about community. One has to go back to the likes of Monett's M.E. Gillioz to find another with great resources willing to invest in his community. Hammons invested in business and entertainment that area residents will enjoy for decades to come.

Monett's Main Street effort, though small in comparison, has started down the same path. Like Hammons, the effort is starting small but has the potential to preserve and regenerate what we love most about downtown Monett. Efforts like the Fifth and Broadway project take courage and patience. Nothing on that scale moves quickly, especially in trying to save a classic building, a task much more difficult in many ways than starting over from scratch.

It's taken a couple of years to get this far. The Monett City Council deserves praise for investing in DREAM (the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri initiative), and helping to back Monett Main Street. The investment of time and effort by City Administrator Dennis Pyle, who is proving to be a very resourceful and committed asset, has shown the city is serious about making downtown renewal work.

It's exciting to see such enterprise take shape. We don't know where it's all heading yet, but compared to where we were just a few years ago, with way too many empty downtown buildings, it's great to see Monett on the way to bigger and better things.