Cities and seasons

• Communities have good times and challenging times. Determination to move forward is the key.

When Greenhaw Pharmacy broke ground Monday for its new office facility at Ash Street and Orchard Drive, it marked the launch of the fourth major building project in Hillsboro this summer. Already well underway is construction of the new Hillsboro Com­munity Hospital, the Shari Flaming Center for the Performing Arts on the Tabor College campus and the handsome MB Founda­tion headquarters where a year ago stood a Prime­­Time eyesore. These four projects represent a total investment in this community of around $28 million.

Barely nine months earlier, Hillsboro residents were in a funk. The new Wal-Mart store had closed its doors after only four months, the Alco store had shuttered its building because of a corporate bankruptcy and the Heartland Foods grocery store stood sadly vacant along the highway. It was a gloomy time for many.

But economic progress is rarely a steady march forward. Towns, like nations, have seasons of economic challenges and downturns as well as seasons of growth and new energy. Certainly the latest building boom has generated the latter in Hillsboro.

We have no way of knowing how long the positive energy will last. In fact, challenging times are bound to resurface. Progress means being determined to move forward rather than raise the flag of surrender.

Sustaining prosperous rural communities in Kansas will always be a challenge given the urban bias in Topeka. It takes a committed corps of positive and determined citizen leaders to lead the way—and a cadre of citizens who lend their support and encouragement. —DR

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