Is Midway a city or a hodgepodge of buildings along country roads? A good city plan was developed during Don Emmons’ term as mayor, but not one part of the plan has been implemented since Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington took office. The plan likely is collecting dust in some drawer.
About 25 miles north of us is Pooler, a thriving, growing city with officials who had a vision and implemented it. Pooler has multiple shopping centers, medical facilities, movie theaters and big-box stores. Just 15 miles north of Midway is another growing city, Richmond Hill, which has many housing developments, retailers, medical offices and restaurants. These cities were no different than Midway a few short years ago, except that they had plans and aggressively recruited new businesses. The Midway City Council couldn’t even get a McDonald’s to open here.
The council has no concept of how to grow the city. The little growth that we have seen in the past few years has been by accident and not by plan. The city can’t even pave dirt roads or put all of the needed lights in our community for safety. I know what the council is not doing, since I attend all of the city-council meetings, and all of my statements are based on facts and supported by documentation.
Now that we have four more years of the same mayor and council, where will they take the city? Is the city going to sit stagnant? What housing developments are planned? What new shopping areas are being developed? The last shopping area, Cattail Crossing, was almost derailed by the administration. Midway has a prospering dental practice, but we have no immediate-care facility, like the residents of Hinesville and Richmond Hill.
At the rate things are going, the city should shut down and turn over management the county. The county collects all the property taxes and gives little back to the city. The industrial parks are in the county, yet one of them is named Midway Industrial Park. The city provides police and fire protection to these parks, but collects no taxes. The industrial parks should be annexed to increase the city’s tax base, or else the city council will have to increase existing taxes. Don’t forget that a tax was added to our electric bills to increase city revenue, and our water/sewer bills went up.
Annexation can provide better value for taxpayers, balanced with the need to maintain the city’s autonomy within the county. There are areas outside the city limits that would like to be a part of Midway.
Cities often hold great potential for growth, jobs and innovation and, thus, play an important role for their local economies. Midway should be the hub of human activity for local residents, yet we must go to other neighborhoods to shop, eat in restaurants, watch movies and even find jobs. The mayor and city council should visit Pooler and Richmond Hill to learn how they grew.
How can we get jobs for Midway’s residents without expanding the business base? How can we develop the business base without housing for workers? How can we entice workers to live in the city without supporting amenities?
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. Author and filmmaker Joel A. Barker once said, “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway. He is a professional salesperson and has written articles for trade publications in various fields for 30 years.