Patience and progress form an awkward marriage
By BILL GRAY
Mt. Pleasant News
The two coexist somewhat awkwardly. Yet much progress occurs only when key persons can find the patience to stick with a goal or vision.
For those of you getting ready to jump ahead, yes, this relates to street reconstruction in Mt. Pleasant. It also relates to myriad other projects in Henry County and elsewhere.
The Mt. Pleasant News recently-completed Progress Edition (Plug alert: Copies still available!) included reports about projects done well, such as the Wayland Industrial Park, projects going well, such as the transformation of the Main Street Cinemas, to projects where hopes are high they go well, such as Iowa Wesleyan College’s transition to NCAA Division III affiliation. In all these cases, patience plays a role.
Sometimes, the progress of a project shows payoffs all along the way. Have we forgotten the condition of the two-thirds of Washington Street that already has been rebuilt? It was not too many years ago that it was a mighty bumpy ride from Shottenkirk’s west to Quality Equipment. Shucks, I’m even looking forward to the imminent opportunity to enjoy a “straight shot” through downtown on Washington’s completed north lanes – even if traffic may be a little bit squeezed together for a while.
And Main Street Mount Pleasant Director Lisa Oetken confirms that additional electricity is now available for Central Park downtown, thanks to the under-streets work that utility crews completed. This is going to have positive ramifications for a number of things going forward, from the upcoming Midwest Old Threshers Crafts Show, to Rock Around the Block and similar events, to the possibilities for improved holiday lights – even to the possibility of bringing the Farmers Market back downtown.
Sometimes progress is made, and a plateau is reached. At that point, decisions are made about whether a project is complete, whether it should continue in the same direction, or whether a new path should be followed. The Wayland Industrial Park became such a success that progress just about used up the original park site; community leaders are moving off that plateau to develop a new site.
And there is progress made that can influence others into taking the same plunge into a project. The News’ Progress Edition recounts the progress by some school districts with implementation of the “1:1 project,” which brings computers to the classrooms of students in unprecedented numbers. The ongoing success of this project here and elsewhere could influence other districts to get on board.
As noted in another Progress Edition story about the utilities work going on below Washington Street, sometimes progress is not immediately visible to the naked eye. That could be the case, too, at IWC, where a switch from the NAIA to NCAA Division III seems tough to judge from the “outside.” Yet this change already could mean very positive things for the academic and athletic programs of the Tigers – the telling points will be the upcoming progress by students, faculty and administration compared to their status under the past affiliation.
Finally, patience in the face of progress in a quite personal way can mean pushing multi-on rolls of newsprint down a torn-up roadbed of an alley next to the newspaper. That new pavement is going to be sooo appreciated when we get to use it!