News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Mayor looks both ways at Alabama 20 upkeep


Decatur Mayor Don Kyle was a little testy about the unsightliness of some of the entrances to the city this week. And he made a valid point, even if he used a club to drive it home.

The mayor responded to Decatur native Morley Denbo's complaint about the weeds in the median of Alabama 20 between Decatur and Interstate 65. Mr. Denbo wondered why the median of Interstate 465 east of Interstate 65 always looks so well kept. Because it is, he's thinking the Rocket City may be getting preferential treatment over the River City.

The state Department of Transportation explained that spring wildflowers growing in the Alabama 20 median complicates and delays summer upkeep. Also, it turns out, Huntsville, because it puts a premium on beautification, mows the interstate section inside its city limits.

Decatur doesn't have the money to take over Alabama 20 mowing, the mayor said, and turned the debate back to Mr. Denbo and a long-standing controversy about annexation.

"In all due respect to Mr. Denbo and a lot of companies out Highway 20 West, maybe if they agreed to be annexed, maybe we'd have more money to take care of that," he said.

Mr. Denbo has a family scrap iron business located there that contributes to the ugliness of the western entrance to the city. And sure, Mr. Denbo's company employs people and plays an essential role in the county's emerging steel industry.

Somehow, though, Decatur must instill a culture of pride in our citizens and business owners and managers that encourages City Hall to be more like Huntsville. Huntsville makes a better impression on motorists.

Alabama 20 West looks and smells like money being made there. But couldn't it also look like a rose garden if some industries and businesses didn't keep the city at arms' length?

At least the Alabama 20 East median has the beautiful wildflowers in the spring.

And, thanks to the state Transportation Department for mowing the median Thursday now that the flowers are gone.

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