From the Mayor 06/29/16

Reprinted with permission of the Independence Daily Reporter

One of my favorite sources for meaningful quotes is Winston Churchill. It seems that he always found the perfect words for every occasion. One of the funniest interactions I ever saw credited it to him allegedly occurred during a disagreement with Lady Astor in the House of Lords. Apparently at wit’s end, Lady Astor said, “Winston Churchill, if you were my husband, I would put poison in your coffee.” Without missing a beat, Churchill replied, “Lady Astor, if you were my wife, I would drink it.” (I’m so lucky that my wife considers sugar to be poison; I can’t wait until she decides to poison me.)

But all attempts at humor aside, the Churchill quotation that keeps ringing in my head over the last year is this: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

It’s true that our city of Independence has taken some hits over the last year. No city can lose its hospital and not feel the effects. Plus, we’ve got other concerns. We’ve been forced to spend millions on our curbs to comply with federal ADA regulations. Our City Hall is in need of attention, as are many of our streets. We’ve spent a small fortune on our sewer system but still have more to do.

The big question is, will we choose to see these as unsolvable difficulties? Or will we be able to view them as opportunities?

All cities everywhere deal with similar and much worse problems. Many other communities across Kansas and the U.S. are struggling with their infrastructures….water that is not safe to drink, collapsing sewer lines, poorly maintained streets, crumbling bridges, toppling downtown buildings.

Truth be told, Independence has so much to be thankful for. Every time Annie and I have a friend visit Independence for the first time, they just can’t say enough about how beautiful the city is. Folks who used to live here but have moved away come back for a visit and say they’ve never seen Independence look so beautiful. Just think of our amazing “new” Logan fountain. Our amazing “new” movie theater. The Astra Festival (starts tomorrow!) Our shiny new doughnut shop that just opened yesterday to a “standing room only” crowd. Our amazing “new” Memorial Hall. Our park and zoo. The best small library in America. Our new hotel that’s under construction. Elk City Lake with a hiking trail that Backpacking Magazine calls one of the best hiking trails in the U.S. Our new body shop. Our newest tenant at our airport, Kelly Aerospace. Neewollah.  The list goes on and on.

Yes, our City Hall shows signs of age, but that is no cause for wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth. We will research the options, decide on a course of action, and action we will take.

Mercy has closed our hospital, but Labette Health is willing to build and operate a brand new emergency room at its own expense. The prospect of a new emergency room feels to me like yet another cause for great celebration. And what better time for the City of Independence to celebrate than Independence Day? Please join in the celebration at all the Astra festivities, as well as the fireworks display on the 4th.

Independence’s best days are still to come.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Mayor Gary Hogsett