The past year on the Decatur economic front has been dominated by news coming out of Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Caterpillar Inc. Both businesses will play a major role in shaping what direction the Decatur area heads in 2014. While 2013 featured some setbacks, it has been encouraging to hear how leaders in Decatur remain optimistic about the future. All they need is for others to jump on board and see the same vision they have about what could happen.
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As a reporter, the Farm Progress Show is always a highlight of the year when it is in Decatur, and this year was no exception. After four shows in Decatur, it would seem that the event would become fairly routine. However, with the heat making a return just in time for Farm Progress, a layer of intrigue was added with field demonstrations being cancelled. Luckily, after 2007, most everyone seemed better prepared to handle the heat.
Changes are on the way on a number of fronts. Forsyth is looking for a new administrator just a few months into its new mayor’s term. Several new businesses have added some excitement to the area’s retail make-up, including the opening of Friar Tuck Beverage in Forsyth. Others are undergoing renovations and a new Residence Inn hotel is being built in Forsyth. Pharmacies seem to be among the changing landscape, with new or expanded ones in Mount Zion, Forsyth and Decatur.
Eyes will remain on the area’s water supplies, including Lake Shelbyville and Lake Decatur. The drought came back near the end of the summer and Lake Decatur has not been able to fully recover heading into the winter. The drawdown of Lake Shelbyville has been delayed as concerns have once again surfaced about the water levels on the all-important Mississippi River. The impact of fracking could add to the concerns depending on what direction those regulations head.
I am looking forward to seeing what 2014 has to offer. If it’s anything like previous years, Decatur will continue to be an intriguing place to live and work.