Committees help keep city on move

Published 5:16 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
For Yank Lovelace and other chairmen of Brewton's Community of Excellence Committees, an appearance on the local talk show &#8220Coffee with the Mayor and Mabry” is more than just a chance to be on TV.
It's an opportunity for a little show and tell - and you better have something to share.
Lovelace, in part, credits those committees - and the standard to which they are held - with a lot of the good news that's been happening in Brewton lately.
Downtown park projects, a new investment from a retail giant, new housing developments and a half-million dollar grant for a walking and biking path are among the latest projects Brewton has been touting.
ACE committees have fostered many of the projects, such as the renovation of Burnt Corn Creek Park.
Those committees - which focus on such aspects as quality of life, education and industry - still meet regularly and are held accountable by Mayor Ted Jennings, Lovelace said.
Jennings said the Communities of Excellence committees have just &#8220scratched the surface” of what they can do for Brewton.
Not only are the ACE committees working hard, but other Brewton groups, such as the Tree and Beautification Board and the Brewton Council of the Arts, are also working on projects to help the city's quality of life.
Those projects can lead to bigger things for the community, said Jackson Hines, a local real estate broker and chairman of the Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce board.
Other business leaders agree that attracting new business - and new residents - will help the community grow.
And attracting new residents who spend money in a community can be just as important as attracting industry, Gordy said. &#8220It's economic development in itself,” she said.
Gordy said she hopes Brewton will continue to be choosy about the types of industry it attracts.
Gordy said Brewton's uniqueness needs to be preserved. &#8220Why on earth would you want to go somewhere that looks just like everyplace else?” she said. &#8220We've got a special thing going.”
Jennings emphasized that the sense of optimism in Brewton did not happen overnight. &#8220For a number of years it's been building,” he said. &#8220Now, for whatever reason, we've just got more going on, and we've got more people that want to see things done.”
For Lovelace, whose family has lived in Brewton for generations, the sense of optimism is the community's legacy.

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