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From the Editor

New Year's Resolve

The holiday season is a time of year when people of all ages fill out their gift giving lists, reflect on what they are thankful for and resolve to change their ways in the coming year. With that in mind, I submit to you the Top 10 Things Huntington Should Resolve to Do in 2004:

1. Implement a city-wide street paving program. I seem to recall a referendum on the ballot a few years ago that addressed this need, but it was narrowly defeated. I think the idea is worth re-visiting, and could pass if it is properly promoted and marketed. That means getting the word out using commercial time on television, radio and print, not to mention a neighborhood door-to-door campaign. I don't know what it would cost, but we can’t afford to let our streets deteriorate any further.

2. Project City Pride. This would be a two-tiered program: The first would involve a commitment from the City of Huntington to do a better job of keeping our city streets clean. The second would call on volunteers four times a year to take part in an all day clean up project -- similar to the annual Ohio River Sweep. It could be called “City Pride Day” and offer rewards to those streets or neighborhoods that do the best job. Our streets have never looked worse.

3. Project Demolition. City Hall officials need to appoint someone to survey the buildings and homes in the city that should be condemned and eventually demolished. There are too many old buildings in disrepair that need to be torn down to make way for new buildings. Forget about trying to convince landlords to make improvements to their aging structures. In most cases, that’s not going to happen.

4. Synchronize all the traffic lights.

5. Provide more funding to HADCO. There are too many competing factions in the economic development game. The region needs only one office working on this critical need, and the entity with the best track record is the Huntington Area Development Council. But HADCO needs increased funding from the City, as well as area businesses, to fulfill the regions true economic development potential.

6. A downtown that shines during the holidays. Drive to Ashland one night during the holiday season and look around. How is it they can have such a beautifully decorated downtown and park while Huntington looks so drab? Local leaders need to find out how they do it.

7. A Free Concert Series. The city, in conjunction with area businesses, should host a series of free concerts for the general public. These culturally enriching events could be staged at any number of venues -- Harris Riverfront Park, The Keith-Albee – and expose local residents to Huntington natives Mark and Beth McVey, both broadway stars; Barboursville native Randall Reid-Smith, a world-renowned opera singer; as well as an array of nationally-acclaimed talent all hailing from this area.

8. Project Baseball Park. A group of civic movers and shakers need to make a pitch (pardon the pun) to local big leaguers Don Robinson and Rick Reed, asking them to donate $1 million each to build the “Robinson-Reed Ball Park” on property adjacent to the MU Stadium. The facility would be used for MU’s baseball team as well as a future home for a minor league franchise.

9. A new website for Huntington. The last time I saw Huntington’s website it looked amateurish at best. Find a group of creative volunteers to help assemble one of the best city websites in the entire country.

10. The grand opening of Pullman Square.

Call them resolutions or a romantic wish list for the future, but these are just some of the things Huntington needs to address in the comings months.


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