Last updated: February 25. 2014 3:33PM - 1110 Views
By Travis McMullen Contributing Columnist

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Lately it seems like the fine people who take the time to call into Sedline have been covering the same ground over and over again: The smoking ban is good, and awful! My street was well plowed, or maybe it wasn’t plowed at all! That Barack Obama sure is terrible/fantastic, but no matter my view of the president I just can’t resist the urge to use the phrase “Change you can believe in!”

Somehow I managed to miss the dozen or so stories about my favorite local outrage, why won’t you cover it!?! Oh, and we definitely may or may not have the money to be paying for fire stations, downtown arches and fancy city limit signs.

“I’d like to say I’m a Sedalia citizen and taxpayer, I’m all for improvements that they want to do downtown, the archway, the streets, just anything. It’s about time we made this town something to be proud of when people come through,” went one comment in the most recent edition of the Sedline.

This is a refreshing change from most of the discussion of the topic of city spending. We seem to live in a town with some very vocal people that would seem to prefer a city government that collects our taxes and fees and doesn’t do anything with the funds. A Scrooge McDuck vault full of city surplus is apparently better then spearheading local projects that will stimulate the local economy by creating more work immediately and potentially more tourism in the future.

In reality, I would guess they would probably prefer that the city government doesn’t take any of their money for any reason but the city administration isn’t going to wake up one morning and cease taxation.

Or maybe they only want the city’s money spent on things that immediately affect them. It’s easy to groan about the Washington Street Viaduct when you don’t live on the north side of town. It’s easy to mockingly refer to the new fire station as “Taj Mahal” when you’ve never had a house fire — at least come up with a name for an elaborate structure that incorporates some sort of fire-based pun, gosh — and it’s easy to dismiss non-traditional infrastructure ideas when you’re already sold on the city of Sedalia.

I think the quoted Sedline caller is completely right. A stagnant city spends money exclusively on obvious improvements and things that are universally agreeable and safe. That’s the Sedalia we used to have, the Sedalia that was shedding young people at an alarming rate.

Sedalia is definitely a place that could use a little more spice, flair, and swag. Visually interesting city limit signs are a step in the right direction.

Now I have occasionally made light of the idea of a gateway arch at the portal to downtown Sedalia but I think it is generally also a good idea, and is exactly the kind of thing that could provide the spark that Sedalia’s most historic district needs to reach the next level of revitalization. Sedalia should have a thing like that because there just aren’t many places around here that have a thing like that.

Imagine two people, sitting on a couch in one of the smaller communities around Pettis County.

“I hear Sedalia’s got this wacky new arch thing.”

“Let’s go see it then.”

They’ll come for the novelty — maybe they’ll need to buy some gas, food, or smokes. Maybe they’ll get a big smile on their face and actually decide to visit some of the fine businesses in downtown Sedalia. For the sake of good word of mouth, I think the downtown arch should actually be a little more gaudy then the one we saw in the early blueprints that were released by the city a few months ago. Imagine people coming here just to see an arch, or a witty city limit sign, or some other future thing that is slightly abnormal.

The city leaders seem to have a good understanding of the city’s finances and if there were other pressing problems not being addressed then I could understand the opposition to vanity projects. But from sidewalks to sewer systems, things are getting done and there’s still a little room there to make our city more visually interesting and physically appealing.

We need something, anything. Let’s work to spice up Sedalia.

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