By MIKE WEST
Despite the bad national economic environment, the county seat of Cannon County is continuing to grow. Part of that is due to its proximity to one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. But more importantly, most of this growth is due to the unique character of Cannon County and its residents.
Think how the community's business atmosphere has changed during the last 20 years. Antique and craft shops are taking over once empty store-fronts. Legalized liquor is on its way. The population is growing instead of dropping.
Woodbury is prized because it is unique. And what makes it unique? It just will not surrender to the same outside forces that have transformed most of Middle Tennessee into the same bland setting.
Just think about it. Consider the Cannon County High School football team. Despite losing every game, the crowds didn't fade away. There they were crowding the Square for the annual homecoming parade. Win or lose, it doesn't matter because Cannon County respects its youngsters.
Then there was Veterans Day which featured another parade and the CCHS gym jammed with vets and their family members honoring their achievements and contributions to the community and the nation.
Speaking of veterans. Visit the Cannon County Courthouse and what will you see? Photographs of local veterans line every inch of the wall. You won't see that in any other public building in Tennessee (and probably any other state.)
Go to Adams Memorial Library. Sure, it is in disarray, but that's due to its expansion and addition of a wing that brings more space, more books, more computers and much more library than you can find in any other town Woodbury's size.
What makes Woodbury this way? The people, for sure, but it is largely due to the community's way of holding onto past treasures. Hold on tight, don't let go.
Officials, both local and state, need to remember you don't have to kill commerce downtown. You can enhance it.
This is why we encourage our leaders to look at a third option when it comes to completion of state Route 70S project.
Don't reroute Highway 70S. Let it to continue to bring traffic downtown.
But how can you do that without tearing down half the Square to accommodate a four-lane highway?
We can look to McMinnville, Shelbyville and Columbia for example. All of these towns saved their downtown by rerouting traffic a bit.
This can be done by turning Main Street into two east bound lanes and by transforming Water Street into two west bound lanes. Yes, it will take a little work to hook Water Street into 70S, but the path is a natural one that won't require an overload of tax dollars.
Such a plan would enhance Woodbury, not bypass it and that is what needs to be done to preserve our small-town beautifully for the future.