March 6, 2010 9:17:00 PM
In an interview on Page 1 today, outgoing Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders offers a bit of advice for whomever is chosen to lead the body next: "You can''t please everybody. They''re going to have to realize the word ''no'' is a complete sentence."
To be sure, Sanders didn''t please everybody while leading the board the past six years. But we can safely say that Lowndes County is better positioned for growth and prosperity today than it was when he took the helm -- thanks, in large part, to his leadership.
Sanders wasn''t board president when the county received a $30 million windfall from the sale of the county hospital to the Baptist Memorial system. But he has been a wise steward of those funds, ensuring that the county only spend interest money, and leave the capital intact.
While conservative with county money, Sanders has overseen new projects where needed. Just in the past year, Sanders has pushed through the construction of a new health department on Lehmberg Road; the acquisition of land for the soccer park planned in Burns Bottom, and park improvements elsewhere; and the purchase and renovation of new county office space in the former First Federal Bank building on Main Street.
But his greatest legacy has been his work to transform the county industrial park. Sanders has been instrumental in financing and securing land for megasites in what''s now known as the Golden Triangle Regional Aerospace Industrial Park, and in negotiations to bring in Severstal and Paccar, which translates into hundreds of new jobs. Thanks in no small part to Sanders'' vision and leadership, the park is well positioned for growth as the economy improves in the future.
As we said, Sanders isn''t perfect. With Harry, it''s his way or the highway -- his legendary stubborn streak, at times, has been trying to those working with him, whether they be fellow supervisors or Columbus city officials.
Still, we believe Sanders always operated in what he thought were the best interests of Lowndes County -- and we owe him a debt of gratitude. His successor has big shoes to fill.