By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Some random ruminations of mine while wondering whatever happened to summer…

Progress. It’s a word that probably carries a different definition for each person.

I tend to look at it as thinking ahead, as in looking to the future and planning to make that future the best possible one.

That’s why I feel a lot of folks are being a tad shortsighted when it comes to Trousdale County.

I didn’t expect the story in last week’s Vidette on a planned hotel feasibility study to garner so much negative attention from a number of readers.

OK, so right now our small town may not be the best place for a hotel. But Hartsville and Trousdale County are growing at a pace perhaps never seen before. There were over 100 building permits handed out last year – a record for Trousdale County – and projections are for that record to be smashed this year.

People are coming here to live. I’d like to see them able to work here as well. Too many of the county’s population has to drive out of town to their job. I used to be one of them, driving to Nashville five days a week. (If my boss is reading this, I’m MUCH happier working close to home!)

But businesses don’t just show up out of the blue. They need to know that a proposed location is a good one for them; that a potential franchise can be profitable, that people can and will support their industry.

A hotel study is a step in that direction. Would the population of Hartsville itself support one? Of course it wouldn’t. But we do have a location in our county that brings in a number of visitors on a regular basis. I’m talking about the prison.

People come to visit their loved ones, and some of those drive for hours. CoreCivic itself has housed temporary employees at hotels in Lebanon almost on a continual basis since the facility opened. Those hotel rooms cost money; not to mention sales tax and hotel tax receipts. Wouldn’t it be good to have some of that money flowing into Trousdale County instead? I think so.

We certainly have other needs in our county, especially infrastructure. There are still areas that don’t have city water. Outside Hartsville itself, sewer access is limited at best. There are plenty of roads that could use work, whether widening or repaving.

If we want growth – commercial or residential – these issues have to be addressed. Doing so will cost money. But those expenditures are an investment in the future. They keep us moving forward as a city, a county and as a society.

Nashville adds 100 people per day, according to past reports. That growth is leaking into the surrounding areas as well. I grew up in Hendersonville, and there are times I don’t recognize the place anymore. The same can be said of Mt. Juliet, and to an extent Lebanon and Gallatin.

This growth is coming, whether it’s wanted or not. It’s heading our way and we’d better be prepared for it.

Hartsville will always be a small town and I wouldn’t change that for the world. That doesn’t mean we need to have a small-town attitude.

· It’s been interesting to see the reaction to the issues, shall we say, involving Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. It’s also made for some interesting (i.e., risqué) memes on social media and from what I hear, even some funny bumper stickers.

I can’t say that I really have an opinion one way or the other on her political future. That’s up to the voters of Nashville. Certainly, any potential misuse of public funds should be looked into and addressed if found.

Other than that, I say leave the woman alone. It can’t be easy for someone in the public eye to admit to such a personal mistake. I imagine she and her husband are dealing with the personal fallout. Let’s not pile on.

· Sunday’s Super Bowl was a great game, even if neither team could play a lick of defense. I didn’t have a dog in the fight, but I was pulling for the Eagles.

The Patriots’ loss reinforces in my mind what I have said for years: Tom Brady is NOT the greatest quarterback ever. I put him at No. 2 on my list behind Joe Montana. Yes, making eight Super Bowls is an accomplishment that probably will never be repeated. Losing three of them does not make for the best ever. Montana owned the biggest stage in American sports and never lost. That’s why he’s No. 1 in my book.

· I’m glad the game was a good one because the commercials were terrible. Sprint was OK with its robots laughing at their creator. Morgan Freeman rapping for Mountain Dew wasn’t bad. But until the ‘Dirty Dancing’ between Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, everything was pretty much a flop. Even Bud Light was disappointing. The ‘Dilly Dilly’ series of ads has been pretty funny. But Sunday’s ad was more of a ‘Duddy Duddy.’

Chris Gregory is managing editor of The Hartsville Vidette. Reach him at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.