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At the suggestion of GoFish, I am re-posting this in a new thread. The original discussion can be found in "I Miss the Shoals": http://forums.timesdaily.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/5521043475/m/6681022636.

Sorry for not posting yesterday. Crazy day. The Manhattan investor has a great vision for downtown (crazy huh; he's been here only once and has more vision than our local leaders). He had heavily research the Shoals (he sees the area as a whole -- go figure) before coming down, and I am embarrassed to admit he knew more about the history of the Shoals than I do. To put it in his words, we have an absolute goldmine here with so many natural resources that are going to waste. He wants to put a business plan together and take it to an investment group in NY.

He envisions downtown Florence being a quaint, yet prosperous Southern tourist attraction where the locals hangout and where tourists will want to come and spend tons of money. Great little cafes, pubs, spas, bookstores (he was stunned that Books a Million was born here yet Anderson's closed on Court Street), ice cream shops (he loved Trowbridges), barber shops, etc.

He also recognizes that we need industry here to support the locals. He is a corporate laywer and deals with big businesses everyday. Granted, we don't have an interstate system coming through the Shoals; but we do have a federal waterway. We have the resources to support big business now, and the interstate can come later. God knows we have a great workforce here. It's sad when my 50-something uncle who put in 30 years at Delphi can't even find a decent job now. If my dad, who has been with the same plant since he was 19, lost his job, it would be virtually impossible for him to find anything where he could make more than $8/hour. It makes me nauseuous to think about it.

We talked about the overall sad attitude of the "older" generation. We are, after all, the buckle of the Bible belt. And please don't misunderstand me. I am a Christian and have a very strong faith in God. However, I also like to socialize, listen to great music, and have a good drink. I, unlike the older generation, believe that my faith is not compromised by an occasional Sapphire and tonic.

Anyway, he is definitely in the brainstorming phase, but I assured him that there are PLENTY of smart, progressive people here who would vocally and actively support positive growth and change. We are going to communicate regularly, and I pray that others will share his vision. He is so eager and optimistic about what this area could be. Why does it take someone from up north to take action? It doesn't. We can start the change right now.

Let's start brainstorming. What would you like to see, specifically, happen?
____________________ ~* If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. *~
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quote:
Originally posted by vick13:
Honestly, I don't see how the area can grow without decent paying jobs.


That's a big part of it. We must have local officials who will act as lobbyists for big business. And in order to accomplish that, I believe the local mayors and councils must work together as a group and not try and improve one city to the demise of another. It's not enough to improve what's already here.
Since moving here many years ago, I have always thought that a combined effort by all in this area would have greater impact than the divided smaller communities. That fight has been fought and there are no takers. Unfortunate! It just makes sense to me, but common sense has never been a strong point here.
Today our 13 year old asked us for an electric guitar with an amp. He’s been using an old (practically toy) acoustic guitar and well, I guess it doesn’t make as much noise. So, I started searching for musical instrument dealers in North Alabama, and you know how one website leads to this and that. Well, I clicked on the wiki site for Muscle Shoals and the first thing I noticed was the sign.


Today’s welcoming sign only boast one little quarter note in the upper-left side. If you read the wiki site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_Shoals, it list all the hits and artist who have recorded in this area. With rich music heritage, why doesn’t this area boast that more? It would be cool if we had an amphitheater attached to a place like The Wharf in Orange Beach. http://www.thewharfal.com/. We were there last week and it has such a cool atmosphere. I know we have the festivals (Keller & Handy) and the concerts at the Hall of Fame that we all mostly go to, but I’m talking about larger concerts.

So, I know I’m not covering the most important, which is jobs/industry. But it just seems, for the entertainment standpoint, that there’d be more to do in this area with all the hit records that have been recorded here. That could be a concert in itself, have all those (alive and still performing) to have a ‘number one hits’ concert.

My husband works in Decatur and we live in Muscle Shoals. I was born and raised here in Colbert County and while family is part of the reason we decided to stay, the main reason was our kids schooling. We looked at houses in Decatur before we built here and it came down to the choice of sending our kids to Decatur or Austin High as opposed to Muscle Shoals High School. He’s worked there for almost ten years at a place that utilizes the federal waterway. When the product that they make is complete, it comes past our area on a barge on the way to the gulf. I wish we had more types of that industry here. If there were a candidate running who proved that they’d go above and beyond lobbying those big industries here, I’d be glad to vote for them.
We do not have unified Shoals, and probably never will. As long as there is dissension, and jealousy among the leaders of both government and economic development, they will always have someone to point the finger at. A prime example of the resistance to change is Sheffield; with Tuscumbia is a close second, followed by Florence and Muscle Shoals.

It the late 70’s and early 80’s, it was said the Unions were the salvation of the Shoals. Those days have since passed and will never return.

The leaders of Florence and Muscle Shoals talk a good talk, but words alone do not support progress. The cost of doing business in the Shoals increases daily while the quantity and quality of services decreases.

Unless there is a change, the future is dim. No one wants to invest money into a poorly developed, illiterate, disorganized, drug infested community.
There is a reason for the workforce being what it is in the Shoals/Florence area. There is a business that thrives on low paying/temp help. As long as they can keep industry out of the area, they can continue to offer these $6/hr jobs to temp workers. You see if good paying jobs came here, they would have to up their pay or lose the temp help they have now. Oh yes a few go fulltime, but just a few. But good post Lawgirl..... thanks.....
Aint that the truth!

Lawgrl, if you moved from Birmingham you know what the property values are here. We moved here 8 years ago and started looking for a house in the 80-90K range. Found nothing livable in a decent area. They all looked like crime scenes.

Finally moved to the McCalla area and luckily the property values have been on the rise ever since. But if we sold this one and tried to stay in this area we'd blow all the equity on other houses that have appreciated too.
I think many of you are missing the point of this forum that LAWGRL has created here. Rather than the usual and typical complaining about how bad things are (no jobs, dumb politicians, etc.), this should be used as a space where we can come up with SOLID ideas that will lead to solutions. We're all very well aware that many are not happy, however, complaining never solved any problems. Only solutions solve problems. I think that is one major hurdle the people of the Shoals are going to have to overcome.



Anyway, I'm a firm believer that first and foremost the solution begins with job opportunities. If they are available, no one will want to leave in the first place. I think that just focusing primarily on a revitalization of the downtown (which I would love to see happen) will be similar to what the local politicians have been trying to do for years. Their way of thinking has been to make the place attractive through beautification to attract tourists, and jobs will follow. I don't agree with that strategy. I feel that industry should come first, and when that begins to grow, there will be revenue and a need to beautify the area, making it more attractive.

First and foremost: jobs, and not restaurant jobs, or retail jobs. Real ones that will actually keep the younger generations from leaving once they've gotten their degrees.
quote:
Originally posted by LAWGRL:
quote:
Originally posted by vick13:
Honestly, I don't see how the area can grow without decent paying jobs.


That's a big part of it. We must have local officials who will act as lobbyists for big business. And in order to accomplish that, I believe the local mayors and councils must work together as a group and not try and improve one city to the demise of another. It's not enough to improve what's already here.


Even though I doubt this will ever happen, I sometimes think that some sort of metro government would best suit the Shoals area. Think of this: between the four cities and two county governments, how many boards of education do you have? How many different local government agencies could be reduced if everything was consolidated into one? Utilities, law enforcement, schools, etc, etc.

Many will say, "But what about those who would lose their jobs in a consolidation like that?" While their immediate job title may change, I doubt it would be that much of a reduction in the number of people employed by the local governments right now. The only difference is that you reduce redundancy and waste. You also have one solid government working toward one common goal for the whole area. I think having that river between us, and dividing us has been something that has held us back for years.
Thanks Lawgirl, great post.
Here are a couple of things I would like to see happen.
1. Improve transportation infastructure around the area.
A: either re-route the train tracks thru
the three cities in Colbert, or have a
cut for the train tracks to run in
leaving an un-restricted roadway for car
traffic between Sheffield and Tuscumbia,
and at Avalon .
B: We would probably not need an interstate
highway if we had traffic engineers with
DOT that knew what an overpass, and on-
off ramps are. Take Hwy 72 /20 thru the
area without stop lights. Including Town
Creek.
C: I don't know how successful this would be
but some form of public transportation
between the 4 cities. Something I
particularly like is an electric bus like
they use in downtown Chattanooga.

2. Allow a business with a lounge license to
operate in downtown Florence. This would
nulify the stupid 49/51 rule.
3. Offer some kind of business incenitives
for retail businesses to go somewhere
besides Cox Creek. Just how much more can
this over crowded area accomodate? The
obvious place to push with these is
downtown in all 3 cities.
4. Build a marinia at the Sheffield River
Park, with protected launch ramp, and
some rental slips. Also some slips that
can be rented or at least used overnight.
5. Partnet with some local company that
is headquartered IE Andersons) to build
an enertainment arena, like Bancorp South
in Tupelo. The quansit hut ain't too
impressive.

It's getting late, maybe I can think of some more tomorrow, and in the meantime y'all can get a chance to give some feedback on these.
FoshaBen, thanks for keeping us on track.

As far as a metro-government is concerned, I am all for it; however, this has been discussed and bantered about for years without success. The points you brought up are valid and have all been rejected in the past. Maybe someone with a fresh approach can be successful with this. I certainly hope so and do not count it out yet, just the optimist in me I guess.

Yes, jobs first! But, how do we get industry to come here when our town is in such a mess? What company wants to bring their business here when our leadership is living in the dark ages? We need to turn things around and get progressive and energetic. We need to make ourselves more attractive (not pretty KS) to investors. This is a difficult task when there is no money and with our "leadership" making sure they are not going anywhere.
Excellent feedback. I think everyone is on the same page pretty much.

Here's my suggestion. Don't laugh. But we need to find enough people to run for mayor and city council of our local municipalities who can get elected TOGETHER. Similar to the president/vice president running mate situation. We need to find progressive candidates for mayor who can WIN; and they need to have running mates for the various city council districts so that once elections are had, we have a full mayor and council who support change and who will support one another.

This will take SO much work and commitment among those of us who support progress; but together, we can make this happen! Think about how many people think the way we do but who do not even know about a TD forum? I honestly don't think we are that much of a minority -- we just need to vocalize our ideas.
A successful city starts in the core... which is our downtown area... once it's intact, the rest follows. I've seen it happen myself.

I'd like to suggest a volunteer organization to set up regular meetings to discuss these things. Similar to a PTO meeting of sorts, if you will...

People can comment all day on a forum, but to form an organization of people who actually reside and participate and show up to make themselves heard for the future of the Shoals area... well that takes some initiative. That's 'get off your arse and do something people'.

We can get our ideas together, let the Manhattan investor take a look at them, hopefully get to discuss things with him, and have a concise plan to take to our local officials.

I would be happy to coordinate such events... with enough interest, then we can approach our council. They wouldn't be able to ignore the masses.

What do you think? LAWGRL, others?
I can think of a few local investors, if they would just let their dollars go to the area as a whole and not just "their" city or town. Hmmmm, let's see...a few last names that come to mind are Anderson, Robbins, Love. Those are just a few that jump out there at me.
I too agree that we need some higher paying, better benefit, jobs in this area. My husband, like many other's spouses, travels over 50 miles one way to work and back everyday. With the gas prices, it almost makes it seem better for him to stay here and work for $9 or $10 an hour, but with almost 20 years invested in a job, and the benefits, that is the only thing that keeps him going back.
I would be interested in being in on a meeting like you are talking about. Keep the good ideas coming Shoals area!!!
quote:
Originally posted by MonicaParis:
A successful city starts in the core... which is our downtown area... once it's intact, the rest follows. I've seen it happen myself.

I'd like to suggest a volunteer organization to set up regular meetings to discuss these things. Similar to a PTO meeting of sorts, if you will...

People can comment all day on a forum, but to form an organization of people who actually reside and participate and show up to make themselves heard for the future of the Shoals area... well that takes some initiative. That's 'get off your arse and do something people'.

We can get our ideas together, let the Manhattan investor take a look at them, hopefully get to discuss things with him, and have a concise plan to take to our local officials.

I would be happy to coordinate such events... with enough interest, then we can approach our council. They wouldn't be able to ignore the masses.

What do you think? LAWGRL, others?


That's what it took to save the TVA nature trail from our lord David Bronner.
An organization is exactly what I had in mind, too. I have some media connections and will gladly use them to help promote interest in the group. I could also handle the paperwork if we wanted to set it up as nonprofit organization and make it legal. I would just ask for others to pitch in to help a little with the filing fees.

We need a name. The first one that came to my mind was "Citizens for a Better Shoals" or CBS. Any other suggestions?

I'd gladly offer up the conference room at my law office for the first meeting, with the hopes that by the time we met a second time, the conference room would be way too small. Smiler

Actually with the right PR, we should have way too many people to fit in my conference room for the first meeting.
One place to start with new industry in the shoals is the waterways. Instead of TVA having so much control of the waterfront them or someone should offer up some free property for any industry that is willing to provide high paying jobs for the locals. The hollow on Wilson Lake where Union Carbide had waterfront that is now owned by Wise looks like a great place to put something. Down river on Pickwick there seems to be alot of available property for industrial growth, even around seven mile island. I think some of the things that stand in the way are the old folks that don't want change, realtors that are tied into politics that would rather see the properties developed into residential so they can sell some lots to all ready wealthy retirees, and the environmentalists that don't want to see nature disturbed. What does finally stop any proposed development along the waterfront is all of these folks getting together to hire someone to come in to say that any industrial development would pose too great an impact on the environment. But, there are standards and regulations that control discharge and runoff so why not enforce that and let them come and build? Someone mentioned the Tenn-Tom waterway before. That was built for commercial traffic such as barges as a way to transport goods. What good is it to the shoals if we have no goods to transport? With all the water that flows through Wheeler and Wison dam I'm sure there is probably some industry that could even make use of the excess discharge through some sort of pipeline. Its not all used for power you know.

Yes, I am all for a unified Shoals! The biggest problem I see making that happen is too many folks worried about losing the name of the city they live in. They could keep the names and still unite. Just look at Atlanta or Houston. If you have ever been to either have you been able to tell exactly where the city limits stop off without seeing some other name in there somewhere?

Then again, who am I?
quote:
Originally posted by LAWGRL:

Let's start brainstorming. What would you like to see, specifically, happen?


Okay, here is my idea:

The Tennessee River is incredibly under-utilized in this town. WE HAVE A BEAUTIFUL RIVER RUNNING RIGHT THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF OUR TOWN and no one uses it as the beautiful advantage that it should be.

The Florence Harbor is a good start. We need a nice place for folks to float in from all over the country and enjoy our town. The proposed walkway from the harbor to downtown Florence is a great idea that will help the floaters spend money here but it is not enough.

The current proposal for waterfront development (the "Riverwalk") includes a small amphitheater and walkway stretching from the Marriott to Florence Harbor. Great idea but I imagine it will be used by perhaps 20 people per day. It will be no more important than any other public park in the Shoals. What a waste.

My idea is modeled after the Charleston, SC "slave market" (as it was known in my youth - now it's politically-correctly called "The Market"). The Market is where slaves were brought in from Africa to be sold. It is now a long (3 to 4 city blocks) row of covered shelters (see http://tinyurl.com/2m5wja) that vendors use to hawk art, basket weaving, food, tee shirts, spices and more.

No visit to Charleston is complete without visiting the Market.

Florence Riverwalk needs a "draw" to get people to visit there and foster commerce and further development. My "Shoals Market" is a good start. I envision vendors selling artwork, antiques, trinkets, food and souvenoiers in our little market.

Perhaps we could honor our Indian ancestors by naming this market in honor of their sacrifice since my market would be located very close to where many of them were detained before being shipped to Waterloo and beyond (near Indian Mound). I don't know what that name would be but I'm sure we can think of something. Perhaps a naming contest?

The cost of the market shelters would be fairly minimal but much of the cost of building the Market to our city would be offset by license fees for each vendor. Artists and produce farmers would have a small license fee (we want to encourage them to be there) and perhaps "flea market" type vendors would pay a little more.

Some within the city will be concerned our market would become a little Uncle Charlie's Flea Market. That is not necessarily a bad thing but the "quality" of the vendors could be controlled by the price of the license fees.

That said, I would rally against any kind of restrictive fees and allow the free market to determine what is and is not successful down there.

The market could be situated on either side of the river (Florence or Sheffield near the entrance to Old Rail Road bridge) but one of the coolest locations would be on Patton Island. How cool would that be? It might be a little expensive to develop Patton Island for retail/market business since a bridge that could carry supplies and customers from Florence would have to be built but that ain't mothin' but money. Wink

Once a bustling market is in place, Florence and Sheffield need to develop their properties further by encouraging retail and office development. I envision a long strip of upscale shops, restaurants and bars (YES, BARS!) and businesses along our Riverwalk.

Some good planning will have to take place. Aesthetic beauty is of utmost concern. A hodgepodge of cheap and expensive buildings simply will not do. The planning commission will have to develop a comprehensive plan that will strictly govern what kinds of buildings can be built and how they will appear.

Condominium development must also be included in the plan. I've hiked the proposed walk from the harbor all the way to the Marriott and there is ample room for Condominium development, too.

Florence will have to go to war on TVA to get this property conveyed to us citizens. This war may last for years and millions will die Smiler but we citizens must have development access to Florence's waterfront.

Having people actually live amongst the shops and bars will be an incredible boon to developers and yet another "draw" to our Riverwalk.

The bottom line is that a good, intelligently planned, retail-friendly Riverwalk will be an incredible boon to this area. As it is now, it's just another nice city park. Yawn.

I've got lot's of other thoughts on this but that will do for now. I presented this to the previous council long ago but received a great big yawn. If this strikes you as a good idea, take my idea and run with it, PLEASE. Forward this posting to your city council person. Plagiarize it to your heart's content and even call it your own. But let's do it.
quote:
Originally posted by excelman:
That's what it took to save the TVA nature trail from our lord David Bronner.


And got a world-class golf course moved from the middle of the Shoals to way the heck out in Ford City. Yeah, way to go, tree hugger.

I hike that trail regularly and it is used by perhaps 10 people a day. What a waste. A trail could have been re-built just about anywhere.
What we need is a new political group to take this in a new direction. Like Lawgirl says, if enough leaders would have a common goal, then we may be able to do something. Too many leaders are interested in their own districts and not pulling together. A unified government would be good, but as it is, I'm afraid Florence and Muscle Shoals is not going to be willing to put resources in the faltering citys of Tuscumbia and Sheffield.
quote:
Originally posted by GoFish:
quote:
Originally posted by excelman:
That's what it took to save the TVA nature trail from our lord David Bronner.


And got a world-class golf course moved from the middle of the Shoals to way the heck out in Ford City. Yeah, way to go, tree hugger.

I hike that trail regularly and it is used by perhaps 10 people a day. What a waste. A trail could have been re-built just about anywhere.


I can tell from this one statement what your politics are. You believe that it is perfectely ok to take land from we the people and give it (as in for free) to private individual(s) for their profit. Only one political phylosophy believes that the good of corporate fat-cats is more important than than the legacy of public parks and land.
I am not in that group. If you want to call me a tree hugger, I wear the label proudly. I will fight to preserve the environment, In the voting booth always, and when necessary, on the streets as I did in this case. End result, we now have both a golf course, and a beautiful nature trail.

A lot of people on these forums have complained about gasoline prices. I have not checked back, but I hope you are not one who has. We will be paying more for our gasoline for years and years to pay the bonds we took out in order to build the Marriott, upgrade the cafe on a stick, and then give (well , for ond dollar a year) both of them, plus the convention center to Bronner. He gets the profits, we got the shaft. Don't get me wrong, I was not against the vision , but I did not want a golf corse for private profit on land that is owned by ME and given away. I also think it was a very bad decision for us to not get any of the profits from the hotel/convention center. only the taxes.
quote:
Originally posted by excelman:
I can tell from this one statement what your politics are. You believe that it is perfectely ok to take land from we the people and give it (as in for free) to private individual(s) for their profit.


There are not a lot of people more "out doorsey" than me. I love trails and public spaces and make much use of them.

However, I believe that TVA owns far too much vast stretches of prime development public land in the Shoals area. If they have their wish, we will never see any sort of development in any of those areas.

If you are talking about taking away Diebert park, I'd raise cain. Take away Rock Pile boat landing and I'd raise cain. Take away any public park that is actually used by the people and I'd raise caine. But the TVA trail isn't used by hardly anyone and a prime trail could have been built elsewhere on the reservation.

We are going to run into the same whackos when Florence's riverfront is developed and it already makes me sick.

Development and green spaces can live in harmony.
quote:
Originally posted by OriginalBama:
There is a reason for the workforce being what it is in the Shoals/Florence area. There is a business that thrives on low paying/temp help. As long as they can keep industry out of the area, they can continue to offer these $6/hr jobs to temp workers. You see if good paying jobs came here, they would have to up their pay or lose the temp help they have now. Oh yes a few go fulltime, but just a few. But good post Lawgirl..... thanks.....



You just described the entire Nation. The "once" good companies to work for, that paid a decent wage, with benefits, NOW found out they can hire twice as many people with LESS hourly wages, and LESS hours per week (part timers) and NO benefits... and our Nation is crumbling the entire middle class with this mindset... this has been in the works for a while now, it is just now getting to the forefront of most Americans to SEE....

UNITED we stand, divided we FALL... and we ARE not only falling,... we, as a Nation are teaching our kids how it is okay to be ruthless individuals, or either learn to be poor...

That is just a sas mind-set that I thought we AMERICANs would never have to see... we were suposed to be the BEST... now we rank way down the list of the best..

The Shoals area is just following what Big Business says to follow...

GOOD, REAL Factories, offering full time employment with decent wages and benefits is exactly what we need in this area, the more the merrier!!!
Nothing will ever please all the people at the same time. However, I think a bit of improvement and revitalization to the area would be welcome by all.

I like a lot of the ideas I've seen in this thread and many others like it here on these forums. I recently visited the Charleston Area and know exactly what GoFish is referring to there... it was cozy and inviting. It would fit here for sure. I liked it alot when in Charleston the end of June. That's one idea of many..... so much we could consider, but first we must form together in an organized manner... or we can just sit and wait, bicker about it, and nothing will get done until someone else does it.

I'm all for setting up a time and place, spreading the word and see what 'we the people' can do to help our town. Prioritize, then action, we can do it.

Citizens for Improvement and Revitalization of the Shoals, or CIRS.... (pronounced sirs) one suggestion, since CBS is a tv station. Wink
Again, homes are an indicator of economic prosperity. AS, are the strip malls, banks and other developments that provide the dwellers goods and services. Unemployment rates in those areas are 1 to 1.5 percent. And, homes are zoned for mixed development, so lower income persons can find decent housing, as well.

Charleston, is one of my favorite cities. I have visited since it was an economically depressed area to its now more prosperous times. In other postings, I mentioned it as an example of a city that could bring itself back and used a mixed economy of tourism, industry, and services providers to achieve that success.
quote:
Originally posted by GoFish:
quote:
Originally posted by excelman:
I can tell from this one statement what your politics are. You believe that it is perfectely ok to take land from we the people and give it (as in for free) to private individual(s) for their profit.


There are not a lot of people more "out doorsey" than me. I love trails and public spaces and make much use of them.

However, I believe that TVA owns far too much vast stretches of prime development public land in the Shoals area. If they have their wish, we will never see any sort of development in any of those areas.

If you are talking about taking away Diebert park, I'd raise cain. Take away Rock Pile boat landing and I'd raise cain. Take away any public park that is actually used by the people and I'd raise caine. But the TVA trail isn't used by hardly anyone and a prime trail could have been built elsewhere on the reservation.

We are going to run into the same whackos when Florence's riverfront is developed and it already makes me sick.

Development and green spaces can live in harmony.


Now on the Trail, I beg to differ... we go there a few times a week and there is no lax in people walking it, sometimes ya cannot even find a parking place Wink

Besides, WHO is going to foreclose on what TVA owns?????? They are the government for goodness sake, they can and have owned the Tennessee River and surrounding properties for more years than most of us are old!!!

Reading the TVA website, they created the Tennessee River, so why SHOULDN'T they own it?
quote:
Originally posted by MarianLibrarian:
If you truly loved the outdoors you would understand that not every square inch of land needs to be developed for human use. Leave some wild spaces! There were bird habitats (and I'm sure other habitats as well) that would have been destroyed if the golf course had been built there.


AMEN to this!!!! Leave SOME of it wild and open, if not for us, then for our future generations!!!

When all the trees are gone, all the land is developed, what are we going to be left with??? That would be a most interesting discussion.
quote:
Originally posted by interventor:
Kindred,

You really need to get away from ths Shoals more, I see homes from $200,000 to $400,000 going up everywhere and selling. No temp jobs pay for those.


You don't know how often I do get out of the Shoals, or just how many places I have LIVED in my lifetime... I guess you don't remember me saying my Dad was Military as well as I married Military... so yes, I HAVE been out of the Shoals so much it is unreal.. and for now, I LIKE just being able to stay put for a month at a time.... business takes me away sometimes too.

I also used to spend all my summers, growing up in Virginia, as my grandparents lived there. I have a cousin who lives in Rhode Island, and she is totally amazed EVERY TIME she comes down here and sees a nice modest sized 3 bedroom brick home going at 80,000 ... she said if she could literally MOVE houses, she could sell every one of them in our area up there where she is a real estate agent!!!! She said that the modest homes we have here would sell for 250K up there... so I think we are talking COST OF LIVING prices, not actual living conditions.

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