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2018 held hope and worry about the future

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

In Boyle County, 2018 has been a year of looking forward to the future — with both hope and worry for local residents.

Worry hit the county hard because of two significant closures: Eastern Kentucky University’s Danville campus closed at the end of the spring semester; and the largest day care facility in the county, A Children’s Place, closed over the summer.

While closures are often measured in the number of jobs lost, these closures are different. Both have far more significance for the future than they do for the present. It’s now harder to get a secondary education close to home for residents in Boyle and surrounding counties. And it’s harder for working families to find child care. You can’t really measure what that means today or tomorrow, but it’s difficult to believe the closures won’t have an impact on the overall development of the local workforce two or five or 10 years from now.

Worry also surrounds Herrington Lake, as many residents — those who live on the lake and those who get their drinking water from it — wait to see what happens about possible pollution from coal ash buried at the E.W. Brown power station.

But Boyle Countians have hope for the future as well: Boyle and Danville school districts are in the process of construction projects that will provide state-of-the-art, modern facilities for local children to learn in. Good education is essential for growing children into happy, healthy, hard-working adults in the future. The new Boyle County Middle School under construction, the recently completed Toliver Intermediate School and the renovations to Hogsett Primary School all spell good news for Boyle County kids.

There’s also good news to offset worry about Herrington Lake: A lawsuit over pollution in the lake was reinstated by a judge this year. And a completely different project that would have piped explosive and toxic fracking byproducts across the lake was canceled.

And while there are definitely workforce development issues that must be addressed so Boyle County can keep growing, we can’t ignore that the area is already in quite good standing: It was a record economic development year for the 11-county economic development coalition that Boyle County is a part of, and new businesses and expansions in Boyle County made up a good-sized chunk of the regional growth.

There are dedicated groups of local people working on the workforce and childcare issues now — you can expect to see a lot of headlines from them in 2019, beginning with features on workforce development in this newspaper, coming in a few weeks’ time.

When you add it all up, we think 2018 holds more hope than worry for the future, making the year a good one in our book.