Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hermitage Drive: The Good, the Bad, & the Insipid

Many things are capable of speaking for themselves; however, few of them ever get to if there's a politician around. On Tuesday, the Florence City Council approved $13,000.00 for flashing signals on Hermitage Drive. The purpose of the signals--to remind motorists to slow down near Florence Middle School--is certainly good and long overdue.

From the July 22nd TimesDaily:

Parents have complained that drivers used the road as a short cut. It passes Florence Middle School. “People didn’t realize the school was there until they were right up on it,” said Mayor Bobby Irons.

Hermitage Drive has existed in some form since 1813. Originally the path that Gen. Andrew Jackson forged to New Orleans was called Jackson Military Road. Added amenities turned the road into Jackson Highway before its name was again changed in the 1950s to its current designation of Hermitage Drive. In the early part of this decade, the northern stretch of Hermitage received still another designation when Florence declared it part of the newer Darby Drive. Many, including local historian William Smith, disagreed with this arbitrary name change. At best it was unnecessary, and at worst a bad example for future generations.

For decades, Hermitage Drive has been a major artery linking Cox Creek Parkway/Darby Drive to downtown Florence. When it became downgraded to a "shortcut" is anyone's guess and probably only existed as such for a brief moment in our mayor's mind as he sought to dramatize the situation.

That brings us to the Florence Middle School that "people don't realize is there." The building was constructed in 1948 to house Coffee High School. If most motorists don't know it's there by now, we're not sure if flashing lights will be of any help to them.

Perhaps Mayor Irons is so accustomed to having to defend his actions, as well as those of the council, he seeks to rationalize them to the point of insipidity. Then again, perhaps he's just a politician and can't help it.

Pictured: Pope's Tavern & Museum on Hermitage Drive

What's up with this: Will Stutts has announced the cancellation of the Smothers Brothers' Summer Theatre series performance. Obviously he's correct that just too many activities were scheduled in the Shoals for July, but we have it on good authority that some entities work with each other to avoid such conflicts.