Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Benton and Bryant getting along?

Folks, I've been a lazy blogger lately.

I've not been following my usual routine of checking up on blogs, making inane comments here and there, generally being a pest, etc. Why? I've been busy lately for reasons (work) that are just too tedious (my job) to go into (work) without boring you folks to tears (job, job, job).

Ah, but I've got a doozy of a post for you good people tonight (that's a "daisy" of a post for you people all wacky about Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holliday in Tombstone). I don't know if it's exactly a doozy of a post, but it's at least not as bad as the junk I typically put up here for people to see and ask, "What the hell was the point of that?"

Take a look at the commercial at the top of the post. Uh-huh. Now, take a look at the one at the bottom.

I saw one of those ads on television last night. They are part of a project -- -- put together by the Benton and Bryant chambers of commerce.

"So what? Cities do stuff like this all the time," you might say.

Ah, here's what's significant about these ads -- Benton and Bryant have always been bitter rivals and most anyone who has lived here in Saline County or is familiar with our little corner of the world can tell you that the citizens of those towns have generally hated each other. I, a Benton boy, grew up not liking Bryant one damned bit.

So it's kind of a shock to see a commercial when the school mascots (a panther for Benton and a hornet for Bryant) are cavorting together in scene after scene. The Benton Panther comforts the Bryant Hornet at Saline Memorial Hospital? The Hornet pushes the Panther on a swing? The two play golf together? What the hell is going on here?

Regionalism, folks. That's what. The reality of the situation is that these two cities are located in a county (conveniently highlighted in red on the handy map here) with 100,000 people in it and have a lot more in common that we'd maybe like to admit. Both cities are interested in economic development in the county as we're sick of being viewed as mere bedroom communities of Little Rock. How do we attract those jobs to this county so that we can keep our folks here instead of shipping them off to Little Rock every morning?

The answer is simple -- we keep building the population of this county in hopes that the economic opportunities will follow the rooftops. Some wise souls decided that we are better able to concentrate on that task as a region instead of individual cities and there is a lot of merit to that idea.

This area, frankly, is in need of a unified, concerted effort to bring some jobs to Saline County. There was a time when the aluminum industry was huge here and the Alcoa and Reynolds plants provided all the jobs we needed. Those were high-paying jobs, too -- about $20 an hour back in 1981 until the plants shut down due to an increase in the cost of mining bauxite, squabbles between the union and management and a host of other things.

So I hope the cities are successful in their goals. Perhaps we can replace a lot of those jobs we lost over two decades ago.

Then we can all get down to the serious business of simply hating Little Rock instead of folks in our own county.


Sherry said...

I looked at the map key. How can that be God's country when I live in it here in SC? said...

Well, a few years ago, my brother and sister-in-law moved from Conway to Bryant. Well, actually, their address says Alexandria.

They tired of the commute from Conway to their jobs at Bryant schools.

So you got that going for ya!


Eat Well. Live Well.

FishHawk said...

Regionalism my left big toe! It's Obamaism reeking havoc, I tell ya! For Obamaites just ain't got no respect for nothing traditional--not even hated rivalries.