Recently, my husband read a friend of a friend of a friend’s Facebook post aloud to me. Don’t you just love it when someone does that? (I know, but in this case it was nice.)
Anyway, this person was from California and was announcing he and his family were moving to Mobile. The biggest reason he mentioned was housing. He described our housing market as “plentiful and affordable for us.” Since they are in California, I imagine he does think that. Every time I watch “Flip or Flop” or “House Hunters” on HGTV, I yell at the Californians on the tube. They could have a totally updated waterfront mansion here for what they are paying for an 1,800-square-foot shabby ranch with urine-stained carpet there. They never listen to me for some reason.
But it wasn’t all about housing for this gentleman.
He went on to say he found Mobile to be very “beautiful” and “hospitable,” with a “burgeoning music scene” with music festivals whose “lineups rival anything I’ve seen here.” He also let his friends on the West Coast know what we already do: We are only an hour away from beautiful beaches with “water warm enough to swim in” (I guess it is too cold in California? Well, welcome to swimming in a bathtub, friend!) and only two hours from New Orleans, “like a trip to Monterey,” he said. He described the city as “vibrant” and compared us to Austin and New Orleans, saying it is a “scene that is waking up with a creative drive that is young and refreshing.”
I don’t know this person who penned this post and he could be completely crazy for all I know, but I swear, as my husband was reading this to me, chill bumps popped up on my forearms and I got a little misty. I know this was just one random person making observations we all already know to be true, but, man did it make me proud of my city. There’s just something about an outsider noticing your awesome-ness that means a little more. Especially since we all know the stereotypical way people from elsewhere view our state as a whole. Cue the “Deliverance” music!
So welcome to Mobile, random Facebook poster from California. You are going to love it here.
While our California guy was singing the praises of what we already have, Mayor Sandy Stimpson and County Commission President Connie Hudson gave us a glimpse of the “greater things yet to come” at the Annual State of the City and County luncheon last week.
And we do have so many exciting, transformative things on the horizon.
Mayor Stimpson spoke of the continued impact Airbus is going to have on the community, especially just four years from now, when they are slated to be producing 12 jets per month. Has anyone told Sen. Patty Murray this yet? #stillbitter #grudges #boeingsucks
He also spoke of the Interstate 10 bridge (it’s finally happening, y’all) and the growth of the medical and university communities and the port expansions and the deepening of the shipping channel.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Hudson beamed about the Amazon and Walmart distribution centers, as well as improvements to the county’s roads, bridges and buildings. And, of course, the soccer complex she has championed for years. Though she had originally proposed a $20 million version, it was ultimately voted down in 2016, after her fellow commissioners felt it was too costly and/or had problems with the location. But after years of debating this, they recently all agreed on a much smaller 10-field site with a $3.7 million price tag. I think this was the perfect compromise, and it will be a tremendous asset to our area. Kudos!
Mayor Stimpson also talked about a potential plan to move the airport from WeMo to Brookley, citing how Pensacola’s airport now has a million more enplanements per year than Mobile’s, which has led to them having cheaper and more direct flights, he said.
“Today, those in leadership of our airports are embracing change by challenging the status quo,” Stimpson said. “They envision a vibrant downtown airport with easy access and affordable flights to great destinations.”
Why do I feel like this is one of those Mobile things that’s already a done deal and we just don’t know it yet? Don’t get me wrong, I think this could be really, really cool. Lord knows, no one likes having to drive to West Jesus to catch a flight, especially during rush hour. And certainly no one would balk at lower fares to more destinations. And it definitely makes more sense for easy access to the interstates, hotels and convention center. BUT, we do need some informational sessions and a period for public comment on this.
While I do love the idea of all of the aforementioned things, I still want to know how this is going to affect the skies over my own neighborhood and house, and I am sure everyone else feels that way too. Dear “those in leadership,” please just make sure to keep us all in the loop as this is being “studied.” Pretty please.
In addition to all of these great things, we have the Three Mile Creek Greenway, stunning downtown residential developments, new breweries and restaurants, and announcements of new businesses coming to town all the time now. And I haven’t even really mentioned the bay, the delta, the oak trees, the azaleas or Mardi Gras. What’s wrong with me? Nothing! We are just so much more now.
We really are all so fortunate to call this place home.
As Mr. California said in his post, “I suspect Mobile will be found out before too long.”
I suspect he is right.