Growing up, I went to Amite schools, played in the AGSL (Amite Girls Softball League, which is no longer in existence) every summer, played Bitty Basketball, and enjoyed Saturday nights at the Amite Cinema. I know things change, it’s inevitable. But when did Amite get to the point where nothing is truly supported anymore?
Since I moved back after being away for six years, I truly feel a sense of home here now. I took my place on the Board of Directors for the Amite Chamber of Commerce in 2009 and was elected as President-Elect for the 2011 year. As I have served, I have come to realize what I never noticed before. There is truly a general lack of support for this town.
For example, each year Amite competes in the Cleanest City Contest. This is a chance for local residents and business owners to make a difference in the way our town is viewed by outsiders. Once again, however, a very select group of people took the initiative to clean and spruce up our little community. Where were all of the others? I try, in my position as editor of our local newspaper, to let the public know when things are happening and let them know how they can help. Am I not working hard enough? Or is it all just falling on careless eyes?
Last year, the city hosted the annual Crime Stoppers “Night Out Against Crime”. While most would say it had a good turnout, I would have to say that I was quite disappointed with the lack of support this worthy event was shown. It was absolutely free to the public. Most people like free stuff! I know I do! Kids were given all kinds of goodies, and our local law enforcement, fire protection services, and emergency personnel were out on full display for everyone to see. Where was the support?
The Amite City Arts Council hosts numerous events throughout the year to showcase our young artists and the arts in general - a vital, integral piece of our town. Where is the support?
The Amite Chamber of Commerce always welcomes participation in the events we host, such as Chamber After Hours, Chamber monthly meetings, Community Market Days, Clean-up Days, etc. Where is the support?
This isn’t just about one organization or another. This is about community. When do we rally together to help each other out? When do we get out of our daily grind and go visit a new restaurant or shopping center or small business?
I was not about to write this column without first checking myself to see if I had become one of those individuals who was stuck in a routine because it was simple. Jeremy Adamson, who currently serves as the Treasurer for the Chamber of Commerce, and I took a lunch break on Friday to visit one of our newest Chamber members - The Mulberry House. While we were there, Debbie Relle, one of the owners, sat down with us and explained how she felt some of the same concerns I am voicing now. As a struggling new business in town, she came to us as Chamber members, who are solely there to represent our businesses, and asked for advice on how she could gain more support from the town. Though I could not give her a definitive answer, only suggestions, I did tell her that I would be writing this column this week in hopes that SOMEONE would see the need for support in this town. Here is my attempt - The Mulberry House is open for lunch Wednesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., dinner is Thursday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Sunday Brunch from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. They are located at the corner of Mulberry Street and Duncan Avenue.
Just don’t forget about our other businesses and activities! Our town and our businesses need all the support they can get. Eat, play, shop Amite.