Elizabethtown should look at sustainability

Why is it when you hear the word sustainability, urbanized areas are much more synonymous than rural areas. When it comes to combating climate change, smaller towns are left behind. Sweeping green infrastructure, urban gardens, eco-friendly housing developments, electric buses and bike lanes on every road are dreams come to reality for big city dwellers. Why can’t we have something of scale in Elizabethtown?

As a city touting itself as America’s First Urban Trail Town — a very green title — I am appalled at the lack of any other sort of sustainability initiative outside of recycling and the farmers’ market. It is truly baffling that as we create some of the best trail systems in the state, while simultaneously razing massive swaths of older, diverse woodlands for housing developments that aren’t affordable for those who need it most.

Sustainability is not simply about “going green.” Sustainability is also about the resilience and good health of a community. This includes affordable housing, accessible transportation and inexpensive food sources. We are severely lacking.

Consider the fact that there is no grocery store south of North Mulberry Street. Our grocery stores are clumped together in highly trafficked areas. Imagine you are a person without a vehicle living in the southern half of town. Transportation is hit-or-miss and going to the grocery is quite the undertaking. This is not a sustainable way to live and something that could be remedied through investment in a city-wide transportation system and working with zoning to encourage at least one grocery store in the south end.

People have been asking for these things for years and yet we have seen no progress on this. Why? What is going on with the city’s priorities?

This town could be a bastion of community sustainability if its leaders chose to follow such a path rather than the path of winning fancy titles, shooting down any hope at solar energy and cutting down trees at an alarmingly fast rate.

It is high time we begin to examine much more in-depth the priorities of who we elect to run this town.

J.S. Thompkins III

Elizabethtown

Former student recalls impact of Ron Thomas

With the passing of long-time Elizabethtown City Councilman Ron Thomas, much has been said concerning all of his work for the city but not much was said of his contributions and the work he did at Elizabethtown Community College where he was dean of student affairs.

I cannot speak for all students but I can tell you what he did for me.

Three days after I started at ECC, I was in a car accident which caused me to be in the hospital for a week. I called him up while in the hospital the day after Labor Day and explained my situation.

I was on a scholarship and did not want to lose it. He talked with my teachers and got all but one to agree to work with me although I remained enrolled in it. I finished the semester with all As in my three-hour credit classes and made an A in the class that the teacher did not agree to work with me.

Because of his help, I also was awarded other scholarships, including one in journalism that typically was awarded only to Hardin County students and I was from LaRue County. That was the Marc Beeler Journalism Scholarship.

The proudest moment of my academic life was when he presented me with Elizabethtown Community College’s Outstanding Female Student award. That is an award I never dreamed of or even knew about until he presented it to me. I will treasure that moment forever.

Thomas was the main source of many stories while I was a reporter and later editor of the ECC student newspaper.

Of course, Thomas helped me with many city issues. One was having the city install a traffic sign at a tricky intersection. He was a treasure.

Jennifer Underwood

Elizabethtown

(2) comments

LaurieMacKellar

Yes, I do put in line breaks. They don't seem to be there when I submit the comment.

LaurieMacKellar

I am so glad that someone wrote about transportation issues. I have lived in cities with regularly running buses. I know this is a smaller city but if there was a bus that ran regular routes up and down 31, 62 and Ring Road it would open doors to employment; it would cut down on absenteeism; it would expand the pool of customers. Businesses as well as individuals without cars would benefit.

In addition I wish the city would make areas walkable. Many people could walk to the college if there were a safe way to cross the bypass. The library should have been made accessible to pedestrians. I am a librarian. It was heartbreaking to have a young man of about 12 ask me where the library was. We were standing on 31 near the St John intersection. I gestured in the direction but told him of the dangers involved - crossing the bypass, walking the sides of a busy highway. He gave up on the idea. When I was 12 I walked regularly to the library, walking on sidewalks and crossing busy roads that had lights and crosswalks.

As far as recycling I am glad that we have the option but it does involve collecting and keeping items, loading them into personal vehicles (because we all have vehicles) and driving them a ways out of town. Lexington, where I grew up, has had Rosies since the 80s. But then it didn't privatize garbage pickup so it was easy to add the Rosie to the Herbie (the curbside bin that replaced metal cans in the late 70s.)

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