Town takes on challenges with determination, pride

Friday, October 22, 2004

As the Gazette travels from town-to-town for the Community Spotlight Series, we are finding several common themes. The main one is that although the communities of the Golden Plains are challenged by declining population and loss of business opportunities, they are fighting back because they value the satisfaction of living in a place where they feel comfortable, safe and welcome.

Small towns are like big families. There's a special bond. When the going gets tough, townspeople work together to make things better.

As fate would have it, we were in Maywood this month when a breakthrough took place. After going for eight months without a restaurant and bar, Maywood received news that Dennis and Christy Peterson had purchased the former Clubhouse Lounge in the middle of the downtown district. While they await their liquor license, the Petersons are getting the premises ready with plans to open soon under a new name: Pete's Buckhorn Grill.

For the town of 330 population, that's big news. What Maywood found -- in the months the Clubhouse was closed -- was how important it is to have a place to gather for food and fellowship.

The town's grocery store, the Maywood Market, helped out in the interim, setting up tables in the front of the store to serve meals, coffee and soft drinks. But, now, the grocery store is facing a challenge of its own. The co-owner, Kellie Mullen, is receiving treatment for cancer and she and her husband have placed the store up for sale.

For those who enjoy the family feeling of small town living, the store offers a chance to fulfill an important role. Like the restaurant, the grocery store is a gathering place ... a place to mingle while stocking up with staples and supplies.

Small towns are special. They are worth fighting for. In fact, the world would be much better off if we could spread out more ... getting away from the crowding or urban areas and into the wide open spaces of small towns and the rural countryside.

One encouraging trend -- which is happening in all the towns of the area -- is the number of people from bigger cities and states moving to this area. They are escaping crime and confusion for the safety and simplicity of small town life.

For this month's Community Spotlight presentation, see the special four-page insert in today's newspaper. The section is headlined, "Maywood: Through the Years." It's a testament to Maywood citizens' pride in the past and their determination to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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