Jeff Poor wrote in the Jan. 30 Lagniappe (Beltway Beat column) “the solution isn’t necessarily to pump federal dollars into Lowndes County for a sewer system. While that might help, a more permanent solution would be to figure out how to improve the county’s ailing economy.”
I find this to be an interesting proposition. Fairhope is in one of the nation’s fastest-growing counties (Baldwin) in the U.S. When you look at the numbers, Fairhope beats the national average in every category. The average income of a Fairhope resident is $34,760; the average income of a resident somewhere in the U.S. is $28,555. The median household in Fairhope earns $58,767; the U.S. average is $53,482. Recent job growth in the U.S. is at 1.6 percent; recent job growth in Fairhope is 1.8 percent.
So why, then, is it that Fairhope recently built an upgrade into the city’s wastewater treatment plant? Because sewage runs out of the manhole covers on Fairwood Boulevard.
In fairness, Lowndes County probably does not have as much rain as Fairhope does. After all, Fairhope is on the water’s edge. But can you imagine going down to the water and being told you can’t swim on the beach because the bay is too polluted? That is nuts.
Just in Fairhope, we could have Jet Ski rentals, parasailing and so on. Instead, there is so little aquatic activity. No one wants diarrhea, or to be throwing up, or to contract hookworm. I am willing to bet the demand for hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments would go up if the water was kept clean for folks to swim in. Just think of all of the hours of fun kids could have.
If Fairhope can’t fix the sewage problem, what makes the average reader or Jeff Poor think a better economy will fix Lowndes County? Better yet, if Jeff’s parents lived in a dilapidated trailer in Lowndes County, he’d want us to fix his parents’ sewage problem as well. People should not live in such filth. We can and should do better for Alabamians.
I do not have much hope for Alabama with Gov. Kay Ivey. Mobile asked for funding for an Amtrak station here. She said a train station was not worth it. Well, what is proper sanitation worth? When the United Nations prints out a blistering report and says we should do something for these folks, well darn it, let’s get to work.