THINK about the future

Dear Editor,

The article featured on the front page January 21 Advertizer about tourism caught my attention. The thoughts and suggestions of prominent citizens and the guest speakers were encouraging to the citizens of this region and seemed to me to be urging everyone to THINK about the future of our lives in these times we now are existing.

Kay Maxwell's point that "people in this area have a lack of knowledge of what assets are available in the area" I whole heartedly agree with. Most people in the area are blind to the potential of growth and sustainable lifestyles that could be.

Mr. Harrison is correct in stating in the article, "we are not doing a good job of promoting tourism." Ann Rice feels the area needs to work together!

Mayor McCollum of Bamberg asks this question. "Are we trying to get people to stop awhile or come live?"

Bingo! Mayor McCollum. You, me, we all NEED BOTH!

In an article published in 2007 AARP magazine about retiring Baby boomers, the study stated that these folks would be choosing rural areas rather than coast lines - why - the cost of living, my friends, weather concerns, insurance and property tax rates - in short - a less expensive lifestyle for retirement years. I say to the four county region why aren't you courting the largest retirement generation in history? And why aren't you trying to ask young families and professionals to consider our areas rather than the congestion confusion run-away expense of the big cities? Many of you and your parents were raised here in these counties; it's a good life remembered but not supportive of resurrection.

If you want progress and growth and a safe sustainable economy for this region - what is needed are REASONS "to stop awhile and to live."

We need both for everyone's visions of what could happen here to become reality. We need forward thinking, open-minded, honest leaders of government and leaders of business to step forward and LEAD for goodness sakes.

Ask yourself this question readers - WHY would anyone WANT TO STOP awhile and or live?" How can all the citizens of these counties make life better for ourselves and others when we can't even get a hospital built or offer a school system that is academically adequate and safe for children to attend. How can you as citizens, enter, from any direction, into Bamberg County without wondering how terribly offensive junkyards, abandoned property, falling down and dead or dying communities disappearing not make you wonder "What Can I Do?" about these issues.

I hope I have hit some cords on the heartstrings of citizens in your leadership to answer the call of this regions' very survival. Every person's ideas, work, perseverance, influence, faith, knowledge and dedication for all to be successful.

How about it Bamberg, Allendale, Barnwell and Aiken counties - do we have what it takes to face the future and its call to prosper and live? Or is this "tourism article" just more rhetoric to fill the newspaper columns with what we could do?

Nancy Foster is right in her vision of "revitalizing our small towns and communities - they are leaving this earth because nobody seems to care. Here, in all these communities with rich history and so much to give, the people of the United States of America who are actively searching, earnestly searching for work and play, is your answer.

Donna F. Rogers, Ehrhardt, S.C.