Clinton has a lot on its plate.
That headline, from Tuesday’s paper — and paraphrased from Mayor LaMetta Wynn’s State of the City address — is a bit of an understatement.
The Vision Iowa project is at full steam, with several projects to be completed this year.
The Iowa Great Places project is just getting off the ground, with more questions than answers but a lot of optimism as community leaders work to improve recreational opportunities in the area.
Cleanup continues at the former Allied Steel site.
Millions of dollars are being stockpiled for the Liberty Square effort, which will do more for Clinton than any project since the flood control levee was built in the 1970s.
Voters will head to the polls in September to weigh in on a bond referendum for major upgrades to the city’s police and fire facilities.
Sewer bills — for the residents who have gotten them — have begun to climb as the city faces federal environmental mandates and the possibility of a new wastewater plant.
The issue of library space has yet to be resolved, with many still hoping to see the old Harding school site used as the main branch while others fight just as hard for a new plan altogether.
The city budget continues to be stretched thin, though the situation looks better down the road as Archer Daniels Midland projects will grow the industrial tax base to previously unthinkable levels.
The 19th Avenue North extension project is another effort gathering steam, and it is tied to the Lyons Business and Technology Park, which is home to an empty speculative building hoping to land its first tenant.
There’s two distinct schools of thought here. One is fear of the ability to afford even one of these projects, let alone all of them.
The other is unabashed optimism at the chance to be here when Clinton is changing and growing as rapidly as it did at the turn of the last century. Yes, it costs money to build new libraries and police departments, but we’ve yet to be convinced the city can afford to sit and let these opportunities pass by.
The people in charge of Clinton have a goal of improving the city, and we support that goal. People who want to live in small towns with no pools, tiny libraries and little to do other than head to the diner for a cup of coffee ought to do just that. Clinton is not content to be one of those towns.
Make no mistake, there will be a cost. There was a cost when the things we have now were built 50, 75 and 100 years ago. There also is a cost for doing nothing at all, which is what happened for much of the last 25 years.
Example number one is the sewer bills. The city didn’t raise rates for more than a decade, and now we’re all stuck paying more than we would have if leaders had the foresight being demonstrated now.
We do not support throwing money around, but back the judicious use of public funds to invest in the future. The things Wynn said Clinton has on its full plate are good projects, things that will make this city better over time. They are worth the trouble — the bonding, the public vote, the taxing implications.
Some choose to see this glass as half empty. We see it as filling up to the top with exciting promise for a bright future.
Clinton has a lot on its plate.