That Mississippi metropolis is like Anniston: small, Southern, landlocked, and imperfect. Tupelo birthed Elvis Presley. Anniston harbored a younger George Constantine Nichopoulos — Dr. Nick — who became Elvis’ physician and overprescribed medicines that led to the King of Rock n’ Roll’s death in a Graceland restroom. Beat that, Oxford!
But this isn’t about Elvis or Dr. Feelgood. It’s approximately bicycles, guitars, public art, and low-placing fruit.
Tupelo gets it. Anniston doesn’t. Our wonder ought to be muted.
It’s laughable. This best occurs here.
On Wednesday, the McClellan Development Authority opened the McClellan Bike Trail at Anniston’s former Army submit — a huge big deal for a metropolis still trying to become Alabama’s premiere biking destination, if no longer the Southeast. Moreover, no different Alabama path is certified with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s aid. (Another huge big deal.) A few miles south, Anniston town officers spent Wednesday explaining why shows of pupil-painted bicycles have been removed from downtown. Anniston likes bikes. Anniston hosts the Sunny King Criterium each spring. Anniston is fortunate to take a seat along the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail. Anniston is desperate to increase the Chief Ladiga Trail. Realistic or not, Anniston dreams of turning into Bike City, Alabama. But Anniston doesn’t like painted bikes redecorating Noble Street; that’s why they’re stored like unwanted Christmas toys in the old National Guard Armory.
But a rationalization.
Councilman Ben Little doesn’t like painted bikes adorning Noble Street. “If we depart the ones up, someone else will come up with statues or something else up there,” Little advised The Star.
His first-class line:
“Cats may want a cat accessible; dogs may additionally want a dog accessible.” (As an unrepentant canine man, I’d love to have a massive pooch statue in a Noble Street median. Make it a bulldog. Paint it Anniston High pink. Let Anniston’s seniors autograph it every spring, a ceremony of passage, a brand new college subculture. What do you think, Ben?) Funnies apart, there may be criminal trouble at play. Anniston’s ordinance on public presentations on town property is strict. By law, the motorcycles that Donoho School students painted can’t be displayed entirely without amending the present ordinance or a few other City Council movements. From what I can tell, neither Mayor Jack Draper nor most of the council dislikes bikes. (Really, who hates bikes? Do they also despise butterflies and kittens?) But the regulation is the regulation. And Little, the diligent protector of Anniston’s mediocrity and short-sightedness, can’t face up to the urge to prepare dinner hassle wherein, in reality, none existed.
Little may want to have suggested a rapid council action authorizing the bikes’ permanency. Bike City, Alabama, you know. But that’s no fun. It is better to bark about hypothetical dog statues, putting untenable precedents and offending individuals who accept as accurate that Noble Street looks satisfactory just the manner it’s far. Tupelo, if it may communicate, might laugh at Anniston’s plight. I recommend Draper and Little Power West on Interstate 22 and pay our unofficial sister city a go-to, and here’s what they’d see: the Guitar Sculpture Project — an artwork show started by a local essential faculty teacher that honors Tupelo’s Elvis history, empowers local artwork students and decorates that town’s downtown. That’s low-putting fruit Anniston has spoiled. Today, Tupelo is domestic to the woodland of Elvis-themed guitar sculptures that have to end up iconic downtown visuals. I’m sure some Tupeloans assume they’re garish. But so what? Make amusing of Tupelo all you want, but the metropolis embraces its individuality. And I doubt a Tupelo goofball will demand the same space to install a canine statue to settle a childish councilman’s political score.
“The guitars match in great with the new downtown landscape,” Debbie Brandenberg, director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, instructed that town’s newspaper, the Daily Journal, a few years ago. “Pedestrians and travelers love them. They make exquisite picture opportunities.” Little may not price pedestrians and tourists; however, boo to that. Draper and the council ought to three-vote him right into a tizzy. Grab the low-placing fruit. First, exchange the ordinance or use another council action to allow the bikes to return. Second, ask the city’s basic colleges — public and personal — to assist with Anniston’s downtown overseers and paint greater motorcycles for Noble Street and the metropolis’s parks. Tupelo is the template. Anniston can’t emerge as Bike City Alabama if it doesn’t pass all in. And 1/3, don’t worry about cats trying cat statues or puppies soliciting for dog statues. That’s Little’s problem. Let him address it.