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TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Anonymous inquiry raises a valid point

Perhaps it was the direction the fishing pier pointed in the magazine ad that caught the reader's eye.

Jutting out into a body of water with a golden sunset in the background, the ad says, "Everyday life adds up so you can take a break from everyday life."

The pier in the ad is a high-dollar structure, well lighted and wide enough for walking and benches. Where it ends in the water, the pier becomes T-shaped with an enclosed walkway.

Whoever left the page on our desk wrote a simple but emphatic statement: "Decatur needs a pier like this one."

The anonymous writer then asked a question: "Why do we stay behind the times?"

The words are reaction to Mayor Don Kyle's decision to not allow a fishing pier along the Tennessee River causeway with $150,000 of the cost to be a gift from Daikin America.

Perhaps it was the picture in Sunday's DAILY of the 70-pound catfish that 14-year-old Verkeneo Mann pulled in while fishing from the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge pier on Alabama 67 that brought out so many anglers Sunday.

Perhaps it was the urge to wet a hook on a beautiful spring afternoon that had so many people there.

They were there. That's what is important. People like fishing piers.

The mayor said he killed the causeway project out of concern for safety. Yet having people fish from a well-constructed pier would be safer than having them fishing from the riprap along the causeway.

Not everybody cares about fishing. And not everybody cares about having a place on the water where they can watch golden sunsets.

Things that contribute to everyday life, like fishing piers, do add up to provide a variety of places where people can take a break from everyday life.

Ours is not a batten-down-the-hatches city because the hurricane of hard times is not about to blow us away. Decatur doesn't have to stay behind.

Yet, attempting to balance a city budget by cutting local school funding and giving up so quickly on the gift of a fishing pier are symptoms of the old hard-times philosophy that goes beyond being fiscally responsible.

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