There’s a faded, slightly blurry snapshot I’ll always treasure.

A pair of clearly lovestruck kids are looking toward the camera, arms around each other and smiling. In the background toilet paper bunting adorns the roofline of the wooden pavilion where they stand.

It’s the first picture ever taken of my wife and myself, over 21 years ago and just a week or two after we started dating. It was taken at Kids Town here in Booneville as we celebrated a friend’s birthday while in college at Northeast.

Kids Town has been part of my life and my family’s story since we began dating all those years ago. I know it holds a special place in the hearts of countless others in our community as well.

In 1997 a group of Booneville residents came together with a vision to create something more than a playground. Through hard planning and hard work, many hands built that dream of a place where families and friends could gather – a centerpiece for our park and, in many ways, for our community.

My own kids have grown up at Kids Town. They’ve spent summer days climbing and exploring and growing along the way. It’s been a big part of their childhoods and I’m so grateful for the memories made there. I know so many others could say the same.

Last week Booneville celebrated a new vision for what will now be known as Plumrose Park. A new state of the art playground is coming to our community through the generosity of one of our largest local industries combined with the funds generated through a tourism tax approved by city voters.

This new facility will also be much more than just a playground. It will be a place for gatherings and celebrations, a place for children to explore, learn and grow and an attraction that is sure to bring more visitors to the City of Hospitality who will support our local businesses and grow our economy. Memories will be made there and a new generation of children will grow up with it as part of their childhood landscape.

I’m grateful to the leadership of Plumrose who are willing to invest in our community and its future by providing not only jobs to our citizens but by understanding the quality of life in a town matters to every resident. They are setting a powerful example of leadership as a corporate citizen I hope will raise the bar for everyone.

Booneville is on the move. It’s incredible to look back and see how far our town has come in the past decade. A drive around the city reveals thriving new businesses, a beautiful and growing downtown and signs everywhere of pride and hope for growth and an even better tomorrow.

I’m blessed to call Booneville and Prentiss County home and I’m thankful for all those who continue to dream big and then put their money and their sweat into making those dreams a reality.

I have no doubt our best days still lie ahead.

Banner Independent Editor

Managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, Booneville’s Banner-Independent, Brant Sappington has been a member of the Daily Corinthian family since 2001.

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