Next Wednesday’s column will include four items on my Thanksgiving list. Here are a few more:
The Austin Theatre. I haven’t been inside the place yet, but it makes downtown Fort Valley look more inviting. The challenge for downtowns, in any size city, is to give people some reason to visit. Attractive buildings that hold events you can’t attend elsewhere are pieces of the puzzle. Successful examples in other places include the Douglass Theatre in Macon and the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. (For some reason, old theaters always spell it “theatre.”) The first is in a small city, the second in a large city. Macon’s downtown has some attractions, including the Douglass, the Tubman Museum, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. It’s a work in progress; some stretches of downtown Macon still look old and rundown, but it’s on the right track. Atlanta’s downtown has been on the comeback trail for a while now. Fort Valley faces more of a challenge, being so small and with limited resources, but civic pride and Fort Valley Main Street should make it happen. What we need next is a nice restaurant on the same block, since dinner and theater are a classic combination.
Fort Valley’s Christmas Lights. When the nights are long and cold and the streets mostly deserted, this annual sparkling display is reason enough to cruise through downtown. A suggestion for Main Street or other interested parties: Some kind of event that draws people to downtown particularly at night. Could local shops stay open a night or two during this season?
Local health care. After a rough year for my health, I want to once again sing the praises of Dr. Cynthia Giles and Peach Regional Medical Center. Dr. Giles is the best doctor I’ve ever had, caring, thorough, and determined to get to the bottom of any illness, or find someone who can. (I speak only from direct experience. I invite comments about your favorite local doctors.) PRMC really is the Little Hospital That Could. Through the years, they’ve struggled simply to keep their doors open and made it through the night. Lately, the struggle is to open their new doors. Things look good for that project. As I’ve said before, PRMC’s people took excellent care of me during my stay. Anybody unfortunate enough to have to stay there during the holidays will surely appreciate the care even more. To the bad-mouthers out there: Take care of PRMC as well as they take care of you. REMINDER: PRMC needs your support. Vote for PRMC to win an MRI. Last time I checked, they had 2,153 votes, which is way behind, but miracles can and do happen.