News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


2007 holds economic promise

New Year’s Day is often a time of forced optimism. We look at the year’s top stories, which — in 2006 as in most years — largely deal with disaster and tumult, and we try to pretend that the next year will be better.

Today, though, the optimism comes more easily than in past years. Buried in 2006 are seeds of change that guarantee nothing, but suggest a change in the status quo. And where there is change, there is reason for hope.

Locally, 2007 holds economic promise.

From the carnage of the Delphi and Solutia bankruptcies comes the hope the Delphi plant will find a new and more stable owner, and that the mothballed Acrilan plant will find its way into the hands of an employer.

Even the sale of the Goodyear Tire plant to a South Korean company, news that had the hallmarks of a negative, is looking like a positive as other Goodyear plants deal with a bitter strike and closings.

The United Launch Alliance at the former Boeing plant holds tremendous promise for the area, both as an employer and as a source of pride. Other positives include the expansion of International Paper and the coming Lockheed Martin Corp. ordnance plant, both in Courtland.

In 2007 this area will see the increasing influx of people associated with the Redstone Arsenal expansion, an influx that promises to help the housing market and lure additional retailers, supplementing the Target shopping center slated to open in October.

Economic advancement does not always equate to a better way of life, but there is reason to think it will for our community in 2007.

Through good leadership, we have invested tax dollars in projects that we can enjoy even as they attract tourism dollars, including birding trails, Ingalls Harbor, sporting fields and tennis courts.

Our churches are vibrant, avoiding the secular sprawl that so often comes with economic growth. They increasingly are a source of racial and ethnic harmony, gradually shedding their reputation of being the bastion of a segregated community.

Even as it becomes more diverse, our community has managed to hold on to a unique altruism. When fire ravaged businesses downtown, people clamored to help.

While optimism comes easy when focusing on the Tennessee Valley’s coming year, it’s a bit tougher nationally. Even in the midst of strife, however, there are positive signs.

The congressional elections in 2006, if they accomplished nothing else, have increased the likelihood of bringing our soldiers home. Argue strategy all you want, but having fewer of our young men and women exposed to the horrors of Afghanistan and Iraq would be a wonderful accomplishment in 2007.

New leadership means new ideas, something we need desperately in our dealings with Iran and North Korea.

So as we chomp down on our pork and black-eyed peas today, we anticipate a New Year filled with good. We hope 2007 brings you joy.

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