ELIZABETHTOWN — A well-attended Chamber luncheon group heard form Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden regarding recent accomplishments and future plans for the town.
He spoke on the difference between “being good and being great.”
Madden gave the example of Apple when it first started, saying the company was good at first, then when Steve Jobs took over, the company became very successful. He also noted that Bill Gates revolutionized computers, too.
Madden quoted author Jim Collins saying, “Good is the enemy of great.”
Madden related that good is described as “working hard enough to satisfy the status quo” and that greatness means “stretching ourselves to think outside the box.”
He related the story told by Collins of two explorers who started out in 1911 to be the first ones to reach the South Pole. The two explorers planned their trips and went about their preparations differently but both with the same goal — reach the South Pole first.
One of the explorers, Robert Falcon Scott, used a motorized sled while the other explorer, Munson, did it the “old-fashioned way.”
“They did it through hard work, preparation … thought,” said Madden. “Munson laid the groundwork by preparing, preparing, preparing.”
Madden added Munson stored up supplies and resources he thought he would need and he did not get anxious or upset. Madden said that Collins referred to Munson’s journey as the 20-mile march.
“He did this 20-mile march on good days and bad days,” said Madden, while the other groups on a good day would push their limits and found themselves in trouble.
Madden moved on to discuss the accomplishments of the town. He discussed the renovations at the airport that include a $900,000 upgrade to the lighting system.
“By doing so we now attract aircraft valued at $1 million to $5 million,” said Madden. He added this increased the tax base considerably.
He also noted that the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market has been a success. “We want to do more,” said Madden.
He said that the town is exploring providing a business after hours, movies on the lawn and other such activities.
Madden added that Bryan Martin is also coordinating an effort to establish a community garden on the land beside the Farmer’s Market.
Madden said that the town is also renovating the fire department building and the council is planning and preparing for replacing several fire trucks in the coming year.
Madden addressed the town’s recreational needs and said that at the moment the town doesn’t have the ability to provide all of the recreational needs that folks have. he added the county and Dixie Youth have done a fabulous job of providing some of the needs.
He spoke about upcoming plans to make improvements to Leinwand Park. Madden noted that, when the town did a recreation survey, they found they were lacking in providing recreational activities in certain age groups.
“We are hoping in the 2015 timeframe to apply for a PARTF grant for Tory Hole,” said Madden.
He also said that the town has a bike park located across from the entry to Lock’s Road. Madden said the Rotary Club is already planning a Hiking Trail Run on April 5 in the new bike park.
Madden said town staff is also working on creating a greenway system. He said the town currently has land that is serving no other use than for sewer lines and maintenance and the town would like to utilize this to create walking trails.
Madden said in the 2015-16 timeframe the town hopes to embark on phase II of the revitalization. This phase will carry on the upgrades that were made in downtown and extend them to the Bladen County Hospital.
Madden said that in June the town’s contract with Waste Management ends and they will have a new provider— Waste Industries— which result in a cost savings of about $250,000.
Madden asked “Where do we go from here?”
He added that everyone — the mayor, the council, the county— have all done a good job.
“I believe we can capitalize on the eco-tourism industry .,” said Madden.
He added that the goal is for people to want to live and work here.