Today is Monday, September 22, 2014

Regionalism, a topic we must begin to grasp

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By SAM HATCHER           The thought of regionalism is one that most likely many of us have not or do not consider as we go about our daily lives.          We offer our opinions freely about whether or not the Tennessee Titans (our regional professional football team) should retain defensive standout Albert Haynesworth.           We often complain about the noise generated from and the operating schedule of the Music City Star (our regional commuter rail train).          And many of our local businesses and our local economy are dependent on labor and employment statistics for the region.          But yet we still have a hard time focusing on the fact that as our community has grown we have become more and more connected to the communities next to us and to the communities that call themselves part of the Middle Tennessee area or region that surrounds Nashville.           Middle Tennessee is as much about Wilson County as it is Nashville, Murfreesboro, or Franklin.           For this reason it is important that we begin now to consider certain regional issues that may soon impact us all.          It’s said that the population in Lebanon is almost doubled during the daytime hours when commuters come here from as far away as Bowling Green, Ky. to be employed.           That is just one example of how our roadways and local economy are impacted by regionalism.           But there are many other considerations some of which bring value and some that do not.          We are fortunate to live near a metropolitan area that offers such amenities as the Grand Ole Opry, professional sports, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, an international airport, a nationally recognized symphony and others.           While these amenities are important and are of great value to Wilson County and to the region, there are other matters spreading across the region that are not.           Traffic congestion, crime coming to the suburbs from the city, decomposing highways and other infrastructure needs, and a loss of local sales tax revenue because of a declining regional economy are just some of the problems with which we must also contend.          In order to be viable, successful and progressive in the future we in Wilson County and throughout Middle Tennessee are going to have to think, act, and plan as a region.           What impacts us today will impact our neighbor or neighbors tomorrow.          Regionalism is a concept that we must begin to grasp. Whether we realize it or not we are dealing with the good and bad of regionalism everyday.

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