Don't take local innovation for granted
I drove down Critz Street on Saturday looking for a bigger place to live and encountered the highlycontroversial planters spaced out along the street dividing some portions of the road ever so slightly.
To some, the small flowerbeds are nothing more than a welcome addition to a charming street, while others view them as decorative traffic hazards shoved down the throat of every driver passing through the area.
For those who planned them, though, the aim is much more than beautification. Rather, the primary purpose is to boost safety along the street, and for a SUV driver, navigating the planters wasn't that bad. There, I said it.
Don't @ me on Twitter, or email me trying to change my mind, either. I attempted to look at the planters from the perspective of a wide-eyed tourist, taking in all of my surroundings and not just the pretty houses that line the street.
With the sun beaming in a blue sky overhead and each beautifullymanicured lawn shaded by old trees, the area is like a nice neighborhood in a romantic comedy. But the allure was made that much nicer by the efforts of one alderman - and other city officials such as City Engineer Edward Kemp and Community Development Director Buddy Sanders - who are actively putting forth efforts to beautify the city while making it safer.
In a community quick to buzz about hot-button issues, these efforts and their impact can go easily overlooked to the apathetic eye.
Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller, still in his first term on the board, held a town hall meeting with constituents from the Plantation Homes neighborhood earlier this week and the question eventually rolled around to feedback Miller has received for the initiative on Critz Street.
While he has fielded some complaints from those passing through the area, he claims to have not received one negative comment from the residents of the street and I, for one, believe it is because the planters add genuine value to a street thoughtfully crafted with character.
The planters, in my view, represent a small, yet cost-effective way to raise the quality of life in our community, even if it is just some plastic bins, potting soil and decorative flowers. Safety will ultimately be improved because of these planters, as drivers are forced to move with caution and rightfully so, given that it is a quiet neighborhood street. That tranquility is something to be valued and preserved, which I think Miller understood before he rolled out the concept.
Even if the idea is ultimately scrapped and the street goes back to being wide open, Ward 5 residents should count themselves
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