It’s a great time to be alive right now in Bibb County. From Woodstock to Centreville, this casual observer finds progress on the march with solid efforts being made by a number of people to make this place the best it can be. On this yearly occasion of sharing a meal and celebration of the abundance that we’ve been given, I felt it’d be good to pause and reflect on some of the things happening around us, in order that we would not lose sight of how blessed we find ourselves.
Below you’ll find a few things that have stuck out to me upon some reflection. There’s way more that could be said here, but nevertheless this should help get a conversation going. Feel free to jump into the comments and share your own thanksgiving. I’d love to hear what’s on your mind.
Car Manufacturing Businesses Thriving & Expanding
Way back in January, Mr. Hobson wrote an article covering a Bibb County Chamber of Commerce meeting that took place at MollerTech in Woodstock. In his article, I learned that their operation which started with 20 employee positions already had 90 additional jobs open to the community that still that needed to be filled. For a county that has struggled before with job availability and opportunity, it would appear a new age is dawning, especially for the north end of Bibb County. Keep in mind a new Mercedes EV plant is under construction up there as well. That job market is hot and will be getting hotter. Hat tip to the leadership on the Bibb County IDA, Town of Woodstock City Council, Mayor Jeff Dodson, as well as the Bibb County Commission among others for helping make that happen. I’m thankful about what this could mean for so many families not just in Woodstock, but really the entire region. A growing job market is a positive sign and indicative of a community getting stronger.
Cahaba Riverwalk Opens For The Public
After two and a half years of work and over $200,000 in investment, July of 2019 brought with it exciting news for outdoor enthusiasts: The Riverwalk and canoe/kayak launch opened for the public in Centreville. This required a lot of work (especially behind the scenes) on the part of Dr. John Waits and his staff at Cahaba Medical Care, help and direction from the wonderful team at Cahaba Blueway, as well as cooperation from our local authorities and business community. It’s a testament to what can happen when we stop arguing and focus instead on building and serving our neighbors. Talk about progress for Centreville! I can’t wait to see the other exciting projects they have planned for our community, and want to publicly express my thanks for them bringing this new lovely outdoor attraction and recreation opportunity to my neighborhood.
Country-Wide Road Improvements
Jeff McKinney and his team of engineers and workers at the Bibb County Road Department do a TON of unsung, unrewarded, and often criticized work that we all depend on every day to get to work, take care of our families, get to places of leisure, and generally roam around. A Thanksgiving reflection article wouldn’t be complete without telling them THANK YOU for the countless hours they put in to keeping our roads as safe and useful as they can within the very limited budget they have to work with. One recent example of their work that will make a big difference for the travelers of Bibb is the newly resurfaced Cold Water Road in Woodstock. I got to observe this road first hand today on the way to Thanksgiving lunch with my family in Green Pond. That road’s been rough and tough for years. They’ve made it nice and beautiful now, bringing up the aesthetic of that pocket in our county. Thanks y’all. You’re appreciated.
West Blocton Hosts a new Farmer’s Market
Spring of 2019 brought with it a new farmer’s market for the residents of West Blocton– and it would appear that it was a resounding success! Matthew Hartzell with the Bibb County Extension office was quoted during the first market event saying: “Several vendors have sold out of a lot of their stuff, or are down to just a little left.” At least two other community events in this area took place during 2019 as well including the amazing Woodstock Music Festival and Cahaba Lily Festival. Events like these serve as glue that binds us together as neighbors. We get out and meet one another. We support our local artisans and eat quality food grown in our backyards. We hear local musicians. We meet and get to talk about issues that matter to us with our local leaders. I’m thankful to have those opportunities within driving distance of my house and can’t wait for more to come to our county. (By the way, there’s parades coming up too! Thankful for that also!)
Mitch Kemmer Lands Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Board of Trustees Seat
Governor Ivey appointing Mr. Kemmer to this prestigious board sent The Bibb Voice’s Jeremy Crowson down a trail of exploring the makings of this community legend. I didn’t know Mr. Kemmer’s history until this board appointment happened and Mr. Crowson wrote on his life. After reading Mr. Crowson’s article, all I could say is “WOW!” What a witness! Mr. Kemmer set a high bar for all of us to aim at: A bar which requires us to straight-up declare war on the excuses we make for not doing more for our community and those that look up to us. A bar which requires us to overcome the things we have before us that hold us back from what we could be. A bar which would seem to bring order from chaos, just as we see in the narrative of Genesis in the Bible when God makes his first appearance in our recorded history, speaking into existence with word the world we live in today. I walked away from Mr. Kemmer’s life story encouraged with a renewed sense of purpose and desire for service. I am so thankful for a.) Governor Ivey calling attention to this public servant b.) Mr. Crowson for taking the time to cover this story and c.) Mr. Kemmer taking the time to share his life story with us. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn his story this year. If you haven’t read his story, you should. You can read it by clicking here.
There’s so many more things happening around here then just the five items I highlighted that we have to be thankful for this year. One might be thinking of the great year that the Bibb County Highschool football team had, and the amazing amount of work that volunteers, faculty, students, and parents contributed to make that success happen. Perhaps one might cite how our community rallied around Hunter Bice and his family after his car accident. One could cite the progress and expansion happening at Bibb Medical Center, or the improvements being made over at the Bibb County Airport. Then there’s all the work put in by our first responders 24/7 to bring aid to community members in crisis situations throughout the year. The longer you ponder, the more and more you’ll find we have to be thankful for.
It’s important we reflect on our past, especially when so many good things are happening all over the place. A reflection that leads to Thanksgiving and encouragement certainly can’t hurt us, and models the very same behavior Jesus showed in Matthew 26:26 when he broke bread and gave thanks, just like we did over turkey and mashed potatoes today.
To give thanks is to say no to complaining. To give thanks is to build one another up. To give thanks is to acknowledge the value given to us by others, to recognize it for the good that it is, and to encourage ourselves to help contribute more of those good things to our neighborhood. It’s a cause I can get behind. You probably can too.
On my small list above, we’ve seen but a tiny glimpse of the divine goodness that has been granted to us in 2019 so far. Truly it’s a good day to be alive in Bibb County. I’m thankful for the work our local leadership as well as my neighbors across Bibb County have done to bring these things into fruition, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2020.
THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THE OPINIONS OF THE WRITER AND NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF THE BIBB VOICE OR ITS EDITORIAL BOARD. YOUR COMMENTS ARE INVITED AND ARE WELCOME.