We must work together to make this town a community

Published 7:03 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Two weeks ago, the men’s church league softball season wrapped up in Vicksburg. Joining a team through St. Michael’s was one of the best decisions I have made since moving to town.

Despite countless rainouts that forced many a game to be rescheduled, it was an enjoyable season, and a great way to spend an hour or so a couple nights each week.

There were only four teams in the church league this season, but there were also eight teams playing in the competitive men’s league. 

It is opportunities like these that take a city from being just a group of people and turns them into a community. Children would play along the fence lines and fans would come out to cheer on the participants.

As Vicksburg continues to grow and find its place in the region, improving the schools and bringing jobs to town are vastly important. But let us not forget the need to build the community too, because in the end that is what convinces people they should stay here or encourages young adults to return after going to college.

A men’s softball league is a perfect example of an easy-to-put-on event, that is not that expensive for the participants, which has a big impact. Registration is now open for a co-ed league in town, which will begin play in September and will hopefully become vibrant in town.

More should done though.

The Vicksburg Leadership Class, which graduated Wednesday night, worked to build the foundation to bring a dog park to town. A small amenity like that will have a big impact on building the Vicksburg community. The redevelopment committee for the riverfront held its first meeting last week and I can’t wait to see their ideas.

I do have one of my own to offer though.

I made my way down to the July 4 celebration and grabbed a swatch of grass on the hill and enjoyed the concert. My biggest takeaway from the event was how perfect that hill is as a venue for events. The children were having fun sliding down the hill while the music played. Vendors were set up at the farmer’s market lot. The hill itself created natural bleachers for all to enjoy the show.

Let’s take advantage of this.

As the temperatures start to drop after Labor Day (it is just too hot for outdoor, nonwater activities right now), the hill makes a perfect place for fall outdoor movies. Put a projection screen where the stage was for the Fourth, let some local restaurants set up as vendors at the farmer’s market and have some family friendly movie events.

Maybe we can do a series of Disney movies, or 1980s classics, the possibilities are endless. The key though is that once the initial equipment is purchased (they make big blowup movie screens) it would be a not very expensive option for the city to provide a free night out for families. 

This is just one idea, but if we work together we can take this town and turn it into a community that people couldn’t imagine moving away from.

Brandon O’Connor is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at brandon.oconnor@vicksburgpost.com.