Ugly comments do little to move the city forward

Ugly comments do little to move the city

7 20 17

The Issue: Some people are fixated on criticizing any effort to bring improvements to Carlinville.

Our View: While the support and cooperation of everyone is preferred, Carlinville will move forward regardless.

Over the last couple of years, Carlinville has become a divided community made up of splintered factions that have more to do with personal agendas than with anything else. It seems there is a constant effort to make winners out of one group and losers out of another.

It’s taking place everywhere, really — from Gategate to the regional water project to municipal management companies and competing business associations. The animosity runs deep and none of it — really, none of it — is good for Carlinville.

Every week, we post our Talk To Us question on the paper’s Facebook page. More often than not, the replies are filled with unpleasant, unhelpful and snarky comments from people more interested in taking jabs at the way things are run rather than making a constructive comment. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a positive comment, as honesty is appreciated, but the bitterness and sarcasm that usually comes through says more about the author than it does the situation in question. It’s not unusual for the snark to reveal a lack of knowledge on the subject, which quickly sends an otherwise sharp comment into the trash heap.

Last week’s question about the property across from Tom Thumb Park and this week’s question about the new train depot brought out the worst in some people.

In the case of the property donated by the Gazda family, there were those who made sketchy comments about putting trailers on the property or installing a gate like the one in Loveless Park. It seems such responses were meant to pointedly touch a nerve when, in fact, the comments were highly disrespectful to the Gazda family, in that the comments showed a lack of appreciation of the donation.

We’d like to give a nod to several people who took the high road by making suggestions of a dog park or community garden. While we’re not sure a splash pad is realistic given the expense of creating such a thing, we’re certain the suggestion was given with good and hopeful intentions.

Isn’t the donation of park land a good thing, especially in a historic neighborhood that is fighting to bring about its own revival? What on earth is the point of making insulting comments? It certainly doesn’t make those who deliver such comments seem witty or smart or even helpful. It’s rude and tactless.

This week’s question was about the city’s new train depot. While there are those who seem to think the city had a multitude of choices with regard to that project, nothing could be further from the truth.

The old train station did not meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the city was at risk of losing the Amtrak stop all together if the station wasn’t built. In fact, once source alleges that, because the city took so long to approve the station’s construction, Amtrak had already removed Carlinville as a stop on its line.

There were those who made comments about how ugly the station is. Perhaps the old adage is applicable here as it is in many of life’s situations: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Considering the question was about how to celebrate the opening and not about its appearance, the comments were inappropriate and reeked of animosity.

To those who think the station was a waste of money, is it really worth foregoing the new station and losing Amtrak service in Carlinville?

The fact is, Carlinville got a brand new train station and only had to pay about $70,000 of the $3.74 million price tag. The project, along with significant investments in the city by the Boente family with their new and expanded enterprise at the same intersection, has revitalized the West Main commercial area and may very well lead to more growth along that corridor.

Those who choose to be critical and snarky in response to the efforts of people trying to improve the community are really just trying to create a greater gulf, and it shows a total lack of concern for the city’s future. Carlinville is going to move forward either way, so let’s try to work together to move forward in a positive direction. Working together we are so much stronger.