OK, that atta-boy may be a little premature. Earlier this week, the McClellan Development Authority asked Oxford Mayor Leon Smith if the city would agree to join with other Calhoun County cities and organizations to help transform the former Army post into a regional economic engine.
Smith’s response: “I think we can do something there.”
But it’s nonetheless noteworthy that the MDA and its newly developed — if not cumbersomely named — McClellan Area Regional Development Compact is darn near having all of the pertinent players sitting at the same table.
We’ve said it for years, and it’s worth repeating here: McClellan is in Anniston, but a redeveloped McClellan benefits everyone in Calhoun County. It’s complete fallacy to believe the county’s other cities, regardless of proximity, don’t benefit in some manner from a prosperous and vital McClellan.
That’s why it makes perfect sense for towns like Jacksonville, Weaver, Piedmont and Ohatchee — and, yes, Oxford — to join hands with the MDA and other entities and work together for a common goal. That goal, as we all know, takes planning and money.
Anniston, whose stake in McClellan’s future is supreme, is on the hook for the largest contribution to the compact, $1.2 million. Calhoun County’s contribution is next at $400,000. The compact’s other contributions aren’t nearly that high, which is only fair. (Ohatchee, for instance, has promised $8,000.)
Oxford is Calhoun County’s outlier; its finances are superb, its retail business climate is unmatched in the county and its public facilities of schools, parks, city offices, libraries and police stations are either new or recently remodeled. But it is part of the county — a county that needs McClellan running at full speed.
This isn’t merely about Oxford helping McClellan financially. It’s about having all of the county’s players on the same team. If Smith “can do something there,” that will be welcomed news.