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Editorial: Don’t ignore the positives

It’s here ó the last day of the year, the dying gasp of the decade. As goodbyes go, we aren’t hearing many reluctant farewells for 2009 or the nine preceding years. In fact, from the tone of some commentary (see column at right), you’d think this decade was like the rude, smelly relative who drops by for a quick visit and ends up sprawled on the couch for months, eating your food, hogging the TV remote and leaving dirty laundry in the living room. Goodbye? Good riddance!
But hold on a minute, Bunkie. Yes, the past year and the past decade have had their share of manmade catastrophes (the economic meltdown, terrorism) and natural disasters (drought and hurricanes). And no, we won’t shed crocodile tears at midnight. Still, it hasn’t all been bad. In fact, our community has experienced quite a few positives since we closed out 1999. Here’s a sampling of a few.
– Downtown renovations. Because it happened gradually, you might not realize how different Salisbury looks than it did a decade ago. But consider a cursory list of projects that improved the streetscape: F&M Bank & Easy Street, Gateway Center, Waterworks Visual Arts Center, Fisher Street remake, Empire Hotel, Innes Street Drugs, Literary BookPost, History and Art Trail, ongoing Rail Walk district development … and the list goes on. Not bad for a supposedly dismal decade.
– Completion of the Innes Street Interchange at I-85. Talk about your extreme makeovers. Despite severe disruptions for drivers and businesses, the results were worth it. And this wasn’t the only major road project accomplished in the past decade. We also have the “new” Innes Street Bridge and a revamped U.S. 70, as well as major upgrades on I-85. Now if we could just get to work on the Yadkin River Bridge over I-85 …
– Rise of the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis. The loss of Pillowtex shook the region’s economic foundation. Dave Murdock’s bold vision has provided a new base for innovation and growth.
– Flood of compassion. We all remember the horror of the Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast. Let’s not forget how many people from Rowan County joined the massive rescue effort to help rebuild homes and lives in Louisiana and Mississippi, work that’s continuing today.
– Legion ball. We may be all atwitter about new modes of entertainment, but it’s still hard to beat a summer evening at the ball park, bottom of the ninth, score tied, with hot bats on deck and a cold beverage in hand. Newsmakers of the year for 2009, the Legion boys are a perennial hit among local fans.
– Rain. In case you haven’t noticed, our annual precipitation total has surpassed the average for the year. For those who lived through the decade’s lengthy droughts, we don’t need to say any more.
– Pops at the Post. Maybe we’re tooting our own horn here, although, in reality, it’s the horns ó and woodwinds and strings ó of the Salisbury Symphony that deserve the credit, led by maestro David Hagy. Launched in 2005, this outdoor concert proves that tubas and tailgating make beautiful music together.
Those are some of our bright spots from a supposedly dark decade. What are yours?

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