What we think: Lessons we learned can inform

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How the community performed vs. our goals for 2010

The grade-point averages have been calculated, and Shelby County has had a good year based on how we have graded against the agenda we established in January.
There will be no long speeches at graduation and no entry into an Ivy League school, but the grades we posted for 2010 would solidly qualify us for a college education at almost any school of our choosing.
Based on a 4.0 scale, we as citizens have earned a  3.34
We think that deserves a round of applause, but the ovation should not be delivered while standing.
As with everyone’s report card -- even the best student’s -- there are opportunities for improvement, and we believe Shelby County is better than a B+ community.
We are Grade A, and we should settle for nothing less than that.
We see terrific effort. In each topic addressed in these goals, we saw individuals and groups leap forward, seize opportunity and write new stories and standards.
Let’s build on those efforts and successes and push forward new ideas, build new momentum and continue to blaze a trail that all counties and citizens in Kentucky recognize and admire.

The 2010 review

New industry, new revenue
    Shelby County saw the opening of many promising and enterprising new businesses in 2010, but there was no expansion of industry. Venerable Roll Forming Corp. won a significant new contract and added jobs, but that was the headline. The year did end with Martinrea officials saying they expected significant growth from Ford’s expansion in Louisville.

Watch our dollars
    Our elected leaders continue to manage our fiscal picture very solidly. Shelby County, Shelbyville and Simpsonville all operated on solid footing this year, and they have presented optimistic views for the last half of their fiscal years. The Shelby County School Board has managed through the tightening that has continued in Frankfort, and so far there has been no impact on the students. That’s extremely positive. In Frankfort, the decisions have been and will continue to be tougher, and we are pleased that our leaders are working within those parameters.

Fund the City Center
    We had hoped to award an A in this category, but that’s not possible. Shelby County Fiscal Court has not done its part to get this plan for a downtown conference center/theater complex off the ground. The City of Shelbyville, Shelby County Public Schools and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative – the county’s partners in this venture – have done their part by providing the seed money for research and development. It’s a pittance compared the estimated $9 million the center could cost, but it’s the first step. We suggest magistrates not let this root until spring, because we fear the center’s growth would be stunted.

Finish the bypass
    In 2009, this sounded like a rerun. Not at least the series on building the Shelbyville Bypass has passed into syndication. After 4.5 years, the road is open – though delayed many more weeks – and we guess that merits an above-average grade, but we have to grade on the curve to make that happen.

A seamless change to new school structure
    Collins High School opened wonderfully and auspiciously, and its grandeur is something for all to behold. But the change was far from seamless. There were questionable practices about waivers for student transfers, and the leadership positions in the school were filled with almost exclusively white and male faces. Take away those two issues, and we could have called this one Summa Cum Laude -- or, if your prefer, Valedictorian.
Expand the election slate
    This grade is barely passing, but only because of extra credit. Shelby County had only a few contested races in the primary and general elections. Most of our top leaders were ushered back into office without so much as a campaign sign being posted. That’s not good for our growth and development, and we hope that it will change in 2012, the next big year.

Get greener
    We see more and more industries, schools and public utilities striving for greener practices and being honored for their efforts. They set the tone, but so much remains to be done. We question whether this process ever could end, and we will not lower our dream of great green plans.

Good to the core
    We saw extremely positive momentum in maintaining the appropriate standards for our building and architecture codes. Shelby County put in new plans that follow what Simpsonville and Shelbyville had started. And now the city is taking a hard look at the 7th Street corridor. We like that. Keep it up.

Honor Mike Casey
    Shelby County Public Schools did an outstanding job of not only choosing to name the gym at Shelby County in honor of the county’s great former athlete and ambassador but also in the way it did so. Now Casey’s former hometown of Simpsonville needs to stay after school and figure out a plan.