Cairo's rebirth

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The news from Cairo, Ill., in recent years has mostly been negative. It was refreshing to see a front-page story last month in the Southeast Missourian touting some of the positive changes that are taking place there.

One measure of Cairo's fortunes is the population decline that saw the city drop from a high of more than 15,000 residents in 1920 to just over 3,600 in 2000. In recent decades, a once-thriving retail area along Commercial Avenue became a wide street bordered by crumbling business buildings.

Now the city is getting its act together, trying to clean up some of its messes while creating opportunities for development and growth. Under the leadership of Mayor Judson Childs, who was elected in 2007, the city is paying its bills and making a dent in past-due balances. It has restored its credit with vendors. A clearing program has cleaned up decaying properties, making land available for construction. A factory building is getting a new life, housing the operations of Riverbend Rice Co.

Mayor Childs is quick to give credit to the many individuals striving to make a better future for Cairo. Hats off to all those who can see past the blemishes of the past and look to a brighter future.

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