By JEFF PICKELL
When it came to choosing a site for the new school building last month, the Fayette community showed no lack of interest in the issue. Dozens of residents crowded into the cafeteria for the Jan. 9 board meeting. Dozens more packed the bleachers for the Jan. 16 informational session. More than 25 chose to make verbal statements at the Jan. 31 special meeting.
But even those who chose not to speak made, by the mere act of showing up, a powerful statement. They showed they cared.
Controversy is, by its very nature, divisive. Doubtless, the controversy over the school location has divided some segments of the community, but it also showed that the community is full of residents who are willing to become informed and involved. It showed that many community members aren’t afraid of vocalizing their opinions.
Most of all, it showed that the community is anything but apathetic when it comes to issues that hit close to home.
And if providing a safe, convenient and affordable educational facility has shown itself to be the number one concern of residents in the last few months, providing the economic backing to make sure that the school stays affordable should be number two.
The best way to do this is industry, and Fayette doesn’t have much of it. At least nowhere near as much of it since Fayette Tubular Products closed eight years ago, costing the village 700 jobs.
But what has the state government done to help bring back those jobs? Has it coordinated its resources to address the village’s specific circumstances? The sizable loss of revenue? The dated wastewater treatment facility? The contamination?
These are questions residents should ask their representatives, in the form of letter after letter after letter.
As Shawn Ferguson of the Fulton County Office of Economic Opportunity said at Thursday’s council meeting, the village is at a point where the best thing it can do is make its elected officials aware of the precarious situation.
What better way to accomplish this than by each member of the community writing one letter a week, all year long?
The village council contains only six voices, but the community contains a chorus of many, if only it would vocalize.
After all, elected officials can’t ignore the music forever.– March 1, 2006