The last few weeks have seen a flurry of conversation and print dealing with such things as traffic, infrastructure, and other related issues. None are particularly new but in some cases they may be a bit more pronounced than before. I'd say it is safe to say we will be having such conversations for many years to come; at least I hope so and I can tell you why. I guess my feelings go back to the late 1970’s when I began working at McDonald’s in Bluffton, Indiana. Anyone who worked at McDonald’s back then likely heard many of Ray Kroc’s little sayings. Among them one of my favorites was “When you are green you’re growing, and when you’re ripe you start to rot”. I doubt that he was speaking specifically about our community at the time, but there is no doubt that saying is as relative to us now as it was to McDonald’s back then. It is obvious to us all that we are indeed growing.
Whether we are growing too fast, too slow, or just about right is open to discussion and I’d probably be able to make a case for all three. Whenever I am invited to speak to community or civic groups about what all is happening in Mt Juliet, one of the first questions I get is when will be getting a Sam’s or COSTCO. For those folks we cannot grow quick enough since they will only plant roots in MJ when our population reaches a certain level. (Note; Hendersonville just got their first one and their population is nearly twice ours!). Others appreciate and advocate for the growth because it means more new customers and sales. And still others like the deer in the back lawn and want no more traffic. It’s hard to really argue against any of them when it comes down to it.
Years ago we had a luncheon speaker from TDOT who was speaking about all of the various road and construction projects in our community. At the end of his presentation someone asked him “how soon will we be getting rid of all of these orange barrels; our town is full of them”? His response back then should give us something to think about even today. He simply said “if you don’t like living in a community with orange barrels, you should try living in one with no orange barrels. I swear you could have heard a pin drop as the noise was deafening. I credit Paul Deggs with TDOT for providing us with a valuable perspective that day.
Going forward, let’s not ask for no growth or to make growth and development so difficult that that turns out being the end result. Let’s not grow so fast either that we end up not being able to get from one side of town to the other without packing a picnic. We are not the first nor will we likely be the last to see such growth in a relatively short period of time. We love our community, we are proud of our community, and we have been telling folks that for a long time. It should really be no surprise that they want to come and be a part of all of the wonderful things we have to offer. Let’s keep our doors wide open and continue to be as welcoming to our new friends and neighbors as our friends and neighbors were when we got here.