To the editor:

A few months ago, I was reading the newspaper and came across an interesting advertisement. This advertisement was not selling a product but an opportunity: the opportunity for every citizen to have direct input into the direction in which Jefferson County would advance into the future. My family and I had just recently moved to Jefferson County and I was excited about the chance to get involved in the local community and surrounding area.

I applied for a chance to be one of the 25 to 30 people to be selected for the Envision Steering Committee.

I grew up in a town in Oklahoma about the size of Madison in a county very similar to Jefferson County. I watched as my once prosperous hometown and county lost companies, jobs and people due to a resistance to progressive thinking.

My former community had good intentions trying to keep the locally owned businesses alive by not allowing certain companies to move into the area, but in the process they made it more difficult for existing companies to recruit new talent.

When those companies left along with their employees, the level of spending in the town was reduced, basically causing the smaller local businesses to disappear. Witnessing this happen to my old hometown made me want to help in any way possible to prevent what happened there from happening to my new hometown.

Jefferson County has much to offer for families like mine that are looking to raise children in a caring community, with close proximity to three major cities and all the advantages of the natural beauty of the Ohio River, Clifty Falls and surrounding landscape.

I see the future of Madison as a town with large-town benefits, but still maintaining a small-town atmosphere. Progressive planning should concern expansion, but perhaps more importantly should also aim to improve the quality of life of its citizens. Expansion is merely a by-product of a town and its people having pride in their community and wanting to share that with others.

I challenge everyone to volunteer and/or attend a community meeting to share your ideas and get involved in helping to shape the future of Jefferson County.

Kristin Lamar