Friday, November 11, 2005

Down in the Dumps—But Visioning for the Future

“When I was a kid we had the same population that we have today. We had two hospitals. Now we have none. We had eight doctors, now two. We had five pharmacies, now one. We had five car dealerships, now one.” Eleanor Harren was talking about her hometown of Sinton, TX (population 5,676). “Today, there’s not as much activity in the town and the jobs aren’t nearly as good. This was an oil town with very good paying jobs. Plymouth Oil started here, later becoming Marathon Oil and was headquartered here until it moved to Ohio. We had a zoo and one of the first public parks in the area.”

As we drove around town, I could some of the landmarks of past grandeur like the zoo, Marathon’s HQ, several magnificent parks (Sinton bills itself as “The City of Parks”), a wonderful new library and a municipal golf course. But except for the library, most of these landmarks date back 40 or more years. Sinton is in need of a facelift.

This past Tuesday they started a series of meetings to discuss their comprehensive plan and the development of a vision of where they want to go as a community. I suggested that they include as many facets of the town as possible. I saw potential in the town, but it is going to take a coordinated, cooperative, multi-cultural effort to be able to get Sinton out of the funk that it has sunk into.

I met many people in the town with a desire to remake the town. They came from all facets of society and if they can spend some time working together, working on their common ground rather than what divides them I’m convinced that Sinton’s best days will lie in its future, not in its past.

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