Moving beyond borders
Amidst the sounds of clinking forks and in-between jabbing one-liners at the 2008 State of the Region luncheon Jan. 18, seven county commissioners and two city mayors managed to throw around the newest buzz word &8212; &8220;regionalism.&8221;
The Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted the luncheon to bring leaders from Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties, plus the cities of Birmingham and Hoover, together.
Let&8217;s face it. Most of the time these entities look more like high school boys after the same cheerleader, always trying to one-up each other for her attention. Each wants to be the fastest growing area with better jobs, better schools and better communities.
What is often overlooked is that cooperating with one another can bring about good things for all. St. Clair Commissioner Stan Batemon offered a great example in the partnership St. Clair and Blount have created &045;&045; a newly developed economic development authority aimed at bringing more jobs to the area so both counties&8217; residents benefit.
Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos also mentioned the effort his city and Shelby County exerted to bring in the National Computer Forensic Institute and complete the cross-country trail at Veterans Park, which has attracted thousands of runners.
Though it seems to be the buzz word on everyone&8217;s lips, leaders need to take regionalism beyond what they say and apply it to what they do.
No one city or county in this area can be great on its own.
People who work in Birmingham live in Bibb County. People who live in St. Clair shop in Hoover. Those who live in Chilton get healthcare in Shelby.
Working together means a better quality of life for all. Ignoring regionalism means watching others grow, while we stand still.