That Mississippi metropolis is lots like Anniston: small, Southern, landlocked, and imperfect. Tupelo birthed Elvis Presley. Anniston harbored a young George Constantine Nichopoulos — Dr. Nick — who have become Elvis’ non-public health practitioner and overprescribed medications that brought about the King of Rock n’ Roll’s dying in a Graceland toilet. Beat that, Oxford! But this isn’t about Elvis or Dr. Feelgood. It’s about bicycles, guitars, public art, and low-placing fruit. Tupelo gets it. Anniston doesn’t. Our marvel must be muted.
It’s laughable, simply. This most effective takes place right here. On Wednesday, the McClellan Development Authority opened the McClellan Bike Trail at Anniston’s former Army put up — a whopping huge deal for a metropolis nonetheless trying to grow to be Alabama’s, if not the Southeast’s, most advantageous biking vacation spot. What’s more, no other Alabama trail is certified by way of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. (Another whopping massive deal.) Yet, a few miles south, Anniston city officials spent Wednesday explaining why shows of student-painted bicycles had been removed from downtown.
Anniston likes motorcycles. Anniston hosts the Sunny King Criterium every spring. Anniston is fortunate to sit along the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail. Anniston is desperate to extend the Chief Ladiga Trail. Realistic or not, Anniston desires to become Bike City, Alabama. But Anniston doesn’t like painted bikes adorning Noble Street; that’s why they’re now stored like unwanted Christmas toys at the vintage National Guard Armory. But, a clarification. It’s Councilman Ben Little who doesn’t like painted motorcycles decorating Noble Street. “If we leave the ones up, then someone else will come up with statues or something else up there,” Little informed The Star.
His exceptional line:
“Cats would possibly want a cat out there; puppies can also want a canine available.” (As an unrepentant canine guy, I’d like to have a large pooch statue sitting in a Noble Street median. Make it a bulldog. Paint it, Anniston High crimson. Let Anniston’s seniors autograph it every spring, a rite of passage, a brand new faculty tradition. Whatcha think, Ben?)
Funnies aside, there may be a criminal issue at play. Anniston’s ordinance on public presentations on metropolis assets is strict. By regulation, the bikes that Donoho School students painted can’t be completely displayed without amending the existing ordinance or some other City Council action.
From what I can tell, neither Mayor Jack Draper nor a majority of the council dislikes bikes. (Really, who hates motorcycles? Do they additionally despise butterflies and kittens?) But the law is the regulation. And Little, the diligent protector of Anniston’s mediocrity and short-sightedness, can’t face up to the urge to cook up the problem in which, in truth, none existed.
Little could have cautioned a speedy council motion authorizing the motorcycles’ permanency. Bike City Alabama, you realize. But that’s no fun. It is better to bark about hypothetical dog statues placing untenable precedents, and offending folks who trust Noble Street seems pleasant just the way it is.
Tupelo, if it could communicate, would truely snort at Anniston’s plight. I propose Draper and Little pressure west on Interstate 22 and pay our unofficial sister metropolis a go-to, and here’s what they’d see: the Guitar Sculpture Project — an artwork display started by using a local standard faculty teacher that honors Tupelo’s Elvis history, empowers local artwork students and decorates that metropolis’s downtown. That’s low-striking fruit Anniston has spoiled.
Today, Tupelo is domestic to a wooded area of Elvis-themed guitar sculptures which have become iconic downtown visuals. I’m positive a few Tupeloans suppose they’re garish. But so what? Make a laugh of Tupelo all you need, but the town is embracing its individuality. And I doubt a Tupelo goofball will call for identical space to install a canine statue to settle a childish councilman’s political score.
“The guitars match in fantastic with the new downtown panorama,” Debbie Brandenberg, director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, instructed that metropolis’s newspaper, the Daily Journal, a few years in the past. “Pedestrians and tourists love them. They make high-quality photo possibilities.” Little may not cost pedestrians and travelers, but boo to that. On this, Draper and the council should 3-2 vote him into a tizzy. Grab the low-placing fruit.
First, alternate the ordinance or use some other council motion to permit for the motorcycles’ go back.
Second, ask the city’s fundamental schools — public and personal — to companion Anniston’s downtown overseers and paint more bikes for Noble Street and the metropolis’s parks. Tupelo is the template. Anniston can’t turn out to be Bike City Alabama if it doesn’t move all in.