First published in the Henry County Local, a Landmark Newspaper.
So we’ve come full circle around the sun once again. Another year dawns, and we feel fresh- or wrung out by the holiday season- and ready to tackle all those things in our life we mean to improve. Either way, this is the time of year when people take stock of where they have been and where they are going, and rightfully so. In that vein, I thought it appropriate to take some space here to take a little stock of my own.
Some of you will no doubt remember the recent debates in town about tearing down the historic structures in the block between Main, Penn, and Broadway, including the iconic bank building. Of course, this is old news, and CVS occupies a prominent place in the new look of Eminence. Though McDonald’s has yet to appear, my research indicates the property upon which it will stand has already traded hands. No, I bring this up, in the interest of taking stock, to remind the city and the Mayor of their promise to enact a Preservation Ordinance. It has now been well over a year since it was first raised in City Council, over a year since Councilman Shroyer brought a draft ordinance to the Council, and ten months since the March 2013 Council meeting in which it was promised an ordinance would receive immediate attention. Seems the McDonalds and the ordinance are hanging out together somewhere. Why is this important, and worthy of taking stock? We have already seen major changes in our town in the last 12 months, and without a framework for future growth and development, the city and its residents will have absolutely no say in how Eminence grows. The closing of Cook’s has resulted in a large, expensive vacant building ripe for destruction and redevelopment. This is right next to the only historic buildings of any value left in Eminence. The business closures and fires on Broadway, out by the school, also leave development holes. The sale of the commercial properties downtown for such high sums has raised the cost of property at the same time the development has made property in downtown Eminence less attractive. It is time the city enacted some basic rules such as living standard rules- to encourage walking downtown, control light pollution from future development, etc.- and a historic preservation ordinance to protect the character of the town, enhance the values of existing homes and buildings downtown rather than diminish them, and improve the quality of life in Eminence.
On a more personal note, I would encourage everyone to take a little time this year and look at what they have accomplished and where they want to go in the next twelve months. I’m not talking about New Year’s Resolutions…we all know how effective THOSE usually are. Resolutions are usually large changes, and people have a really hard time making large lifestyle changes at once. Instead, I encourage you to think about the type of person you want to be, and the type of life you want to lead, and create a ladder of small steps to get there. Some small steps that I would encourage everyone to take: reduce your debt. Your debt may be overwhelming and resolutions to eliminate it start out well, but can be overly ambitious. Just set a slightly advanced schedule to reduce your credit card and consumer debt. Likewise, if you use a payday lender, stop. This is an easy way to keep money from disappearing down the rabbit hole. The typical Kentucky borrower from a payday lender is usually indebted for over 200 days- far longer than advertised- and pays $562 in fees to borrow $330. Take some of that money saved from fees and start saving to give yourself a cushion. No need to try and save a large amount at once- start with $1 the first week, and add a dollar every week. By the end of a year, you will have saved over $1,300.
As for me, my goal this year is to practice daily citizenship. Every day, working in small ways to make the world a better place, even if it’s just by offering a smile. I’m told attitude is everything. I hope you will all join me in making 2014 a better place for all of us.
Lance Minnis is Vice President of Commonwealth Financial Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. All opinions are his own, and do not constitute investment or financial advice.