• 79°

Appearance important in welcoming visitors

As readers of Friday’s edition learned, the promised interstatelighting project for the Brookhaven exits on Interstate 55 remainsa promise local officials are still expecting to come true -sometime in the future.

As pointed out in Friday’s story, the results of the Nov. 6election may hold the key to when or if installation will begin.Wanting to believe that public safety would not be beholden topolitics, I look forward the completion of the project by theMississippi Department of Transportation.

With numerous occasions to travel north Mississippi over thelast couple of years, I have enjoyed coming upon Grenada for thesoothing image the community portrays to visitors or passers-by onI-55.

Coming from either direction – north or south – the first thinga driver sees is two large United States flags waving in thebreeze. With interstate lighting at the Grenada exit, at night theflags are especially awe inspiring.

Visiting with the publisher of The Daily Star in Grenadarecently, we discussed his community’s entrance and what a pleasantsurprise the flags are when one comes upon them following themonotony of interstate travel. Beautiful countryside with rollinghills but after driving at Interstate speeds for several hours itall becomes a blur. The contrast of the vibrant red, white and blueon the green hills is dramatic, the image comforting.

The flags are a community project Joe Lee told me, and one thatcosts the community very little to maintain. Sponsored by theGrenada Chamber of Commerce, the initial cost of the project, hesaid, was small due to donations from local businesses and thecivic clubs.

If you drive up I-55 you know what I am talking about. These arenot standard size flags but huge ones that can be seen for milesand dominate the landscape. The grass is clipped nicely at the exitand planting adorns the areas around the flag. Of course when youpull off and drive into Grenada, you see a bustling city and feelthe image of an economically vibrant community – a good impressionfor a city eager to put its best foot forward.

Driving back to Brookhaven last Sunday and pulling off on theBrookway Boulevard exit, I was greeted by an equally economicallyvibrant community but also an unmowed entrance with grass knee-highoverpowering the plants and trees that landscape our city’s frontdoor – the appearance of an unkempt yard that tells visitors to goaway.

I thought about those flags in Grenada and how majestic theywould be to visitors traveling along I-55. I thought about thethousands of evacuees from Katrina a few years ago and how comingupon such flags here in Brookhaven during those tough days wouldhave brought hope and encouragement.

The city of Grenada has put together a wonderful project thatreflects well on the community and is a beacon of comfort for aweary traveler.

Sounds like a good project for our own community and one thatties nicely to the interstate lighting project MDOT has promisedfor Brookhaven.

Write to Bill Jacobs at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602,or send e-mail to bjacobs@dailyleader.com.