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Our opinion

By Staff
Downtown deserves our support
Ask just about any first-time visitor to Hartselle what their impressions on the town and you will hear: "What a great downtown area Hartselle has." The visitors are right. However, we need to do more to support our downtown businesses and improve the area in general.
Many downtown merchants will tell you very little of their business comes from Hartselle residents. Maybe this is because we tend to overlook what we have at home in favor of things we can find elsewhere. However, we need to think Hartselle first when we shop.
The city also needs to place its support behind the downtown merchants. We have let our downtown awnings fall into disrepair and some of the sidewalks are littered with pigeon droppings and broken glass. As one of our greatest assets, we should all take more pride in downtown and the city should make the investment to keep it cleaner and safer for residents and visitors.
We also need to find ways to improve traffic flow and parking downtown. A petition was recently presented to city leaders calling for the purchase of land to construct an additional downtown parking lot. While the cost of purchasing this land puts it beyond the city's reach, we need to look at other ideas to improve the traffic situation downtown. Other cities have turned their downtowns into pedestrian-only zones, with increased greenways and parks downtown and parking behind the businesses. It's time to look at these and other options for improving the situation.
Improving our downtown will bring more business to the area. More business in the area brings more people to Hartselle, something that's good for all our businesses, no matter where they are located.
Let's work to improve downtown. It's best for all.