As the sun began to set Friday evening, West Blocton townsfolk and neighbors began to pack into the town park, now known as the Walking Track. So many showed up that parking stretched down adjoining streets.
“We’ve got a really good turnout,” Mayor Daniel Sims said of the crowd. The 4th of July festivities for the town included various games and a bounce slide, a movie, and fireworks. Many more vendors showed up than were actually expected, too. The mayor posted his appreciation on Facebook:
West Blocton combined their Independence Day celebration with a “grand opening” of the new Walking Track at the park, which completed about two weeks prior. The track is a nicely paved, smooth surface with easy grades that should make getting in some laps while the kids play a pleasant time.
“This was something on my list to achieve when I came into office,” the mayor added, “and while the next steps are more long range and may not get finished before my term is up, we’re working to get them underway, too.”
The next steps are a splash pad at the park, and integration of the park into the adjacent ball field. “We want to give the kids something to do around here. If you make it about the kids, the rest will take care of itself,” Sims said. He added that development and improvements are important, such as West Blocton developing along Highway 5, as Centreville must along Highway 82. “But for now we want to focus on the idea of building up the bedroom community…” by developing better community facilities that will benefit everyone in town.
Woodstock Mayor Jeff Dodson came out to the West Blocton celebration as well. “I’m really impressed with the turnout here. They’ve done a great job,” Mayor Dodson commented, “I’m glad to see West Blocton and Woodstock coming together too.”
Sims agreed, “There used to be a lot of bickering between the communities, but we’ve tried to squash that and it’s really worked out. These towns are starting to come together more … and I really think we should focus more on being a better Bibb County, and not have all these ideas of north end and south end and all that. I’ve worked with Mayor Morton [Centreville] some, and I’m getting to know Miss Bobby [Mayor White of Brent]. It seems like the whole county is starting to work together more as one big community. That’s the future we’ve got to work toward.”
Friday night as some residents from Woodstock, Centreville, and Brent gathered with the West Blocton townsfolk, it became more than just a town shooting fireworks – it was a glimpse into the future of the Bibb County communities. And it looked pretty good from where I stood.