It’s time we speak louder than the vocal minority
It was no surprise at the gravitas Sam Andrews, Mayor George Flagg’s Chief of Staff, showed in his column that appeared Wednesday in The Vicksburg Post.
I have known Sam for quite a while, and as a young person who has always been mature beyond his years, the passion and foresight he iterated in his opinion about the mayor’s proposal to allow for outdoor dining along Washington Street was, as my good friend Cary Stockett would say, “spot on.”
The idea behind the mayor’s proposal, Sam said, was to make a two-block area of Washington Street one-way so downtown restaurants could set up outdoor dining in an effort to recoup some of their lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week the mayor held a public hearing about his proposed idea and as Sam said in his column, “a small group voiced their disapproval” of the idea.
Unfortunately, the mayor took note of their criticism and chose not to follow through with the plan.
How sad that a few loud voices were able to squash what could have been a wonderful way for our local restaurants to regain some of their traction following the shutdown and now distancing restrictions placed on them due to the pandemic.
Who would be opposed to helping out our mom and pop businesses? And why could we not have, at the very least, tried to give the notion a test run? What would we have had to lose?
The fact the mayor was willing to hold a hearing to get feedback from the community before the plan was even enacted suggests to me that if for any reason, rerouting traffic to one-way travel from 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays during the spring, summer and fall months was not working, we could always go back to the status quo.
I am sure you have all heard the saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Well that is precisely what I think Sam was trying to get across in his column. When a community fails to consider new and innovative ideas by not even testing the waters as to their validity, more than likely it will not prosper.
And it is just a shame when “a few” can stunt the growth.
For years, I have felt like this has been one of Vicksburg’s biggest challenges — but in light of new leadership, it seems we may be seeing progress, so we certainly don’t need to get back in the rut of letting two or three have the last say.
We all have a voice in our community and for those who think the mayor’s proposal is worth at least a try, I encourage you to contact him and let him know where you stand. And, let those who would stand in the way of progress step to the side.
Any idea or plan geared to boosting business for our local restaurants and businesses is something I would support.
You can email your support to the mayor at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail him a letter to Mayor Flaggs, 1401 Walnut St., Vicksburg, MS 39180.
Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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