Publisher’s Desk – March 24, 2022

By Chuck Roy, Publisher

There are two kinds of small-town downtowns.

There are downtowns which are constantly trying new ideas and learning, and always trying to keep a sense of excitement and energy alive. Visitors and residents alike notice these downtowns. Why? Because these downtowns have built a sense of community through activities, beautification, and understanding their audiences.

And then there are downtowns that just exist. They have few, if any events. There’s little coordination of anything. Storefront signage is a mish mash of professional and downright crappy. For these downtowns, it’s no wonder the public uses phrases like “the place is dead.”

That’s a tough commentary to hear. But remember, perceptions don’t just materialize. They are borne, rightly or wrongly, by what people observe and hear. No small-town downtown has turned itself around by letting the talkers continue to talk and talk and talk and waiting for others to solve problems. It takes actions. And can-do leadership with vision.

Winnsboro is an example of the first kind of town. But without actionable items and a clear vision, any city can backslide into the second.

So what is the City 0f Winnsboro doing? Where is it going? Well, not backwards — if Winnsboro citizens appreciate the impressive list of bond projects on the ballot for the May 7 election.

Our City Council wisely sought professional, and local, inputs and recommendations for the most pressing items that the xx for the continued evolution of the city as a destination place, a good and safe place to live, and a hometown that we can all be proud to call home.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Maintain and improve existing infrastructure and address equity.
  • Provide mobility and city services in growth areas.
  • Enhance active transportation and recreational corridors.
  • Allow for flexibility and partnership opportunities.
  • Achieve balance and fiscal stewardship.

The Winnsboro City Council has asked Winnsboro residents to consider seven bond propositions totaling $10.7 million in an upcoming bond election. Residents have been asked to weigh the benefits of several proposed capital projects in consideration of their potential costs.

Here are a few of the details addressing all 7 propositions. Please consider each one individually and on its’s own merit. You may vote for them one at a time, a vote for one does not mean a vote for all.

Project:                                                         Budget:

Market Street Renovation – Phase 2 $1.115 M

Farmers Market – Phase 2                            $507 K

Parking – Broadway and Walnut                  $350 K

Animal Shelter – Additions and Renovations                       $956 K

Civic Center Renovation                                                       $400 K

Street Improvements                                                           $5,424 M

City Hall and Police Improvements/Expansion                     $1.916 M

Successful downtowns just start doing. They don’t sit around being inactive, passing the buck, blaming others, waiting for reports, compiling more studies that always end up sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

Successful downtowns provide the freedom that encourages people who have ideas to implement them. Successful downtowns don’t bog ideas down with forming committees, holding numerous meetings, asking for the idea to be put into a 22-page proposal for consideration, etc.

Successful downtowns uncomplicate the process of bringing creativity to Main Street. But it is in the hands of the voters to allow these Council-persons to execute the mandates important to the future of our city.

And, finally, when the topic is the endorsement of a particular political office-seeker, The Winnsboro News is a hard pass. We will not attempt to influence your right to choose the candidate of our choice. We will only vigorously support your privilege to vote your conscience. However, this election is based on the greater good of the community and we fully support each line item of the agenda for the continued improvement of our town. Every one of these is doable and actionable now. That’s why successful downtowns are a success: They start doing. And through doing they kick start revitalization and launch new platforms for the future. Vote YES on May 7, you deserve it.