This is an opinion piece.
Boaz Mayor David Dyar said something interesting while I spoke to him about the new Legacy Commission on Tuesday night.
Not only did he believe it was important to form the commission, but he placed emphasis on the importance of doing it now.
“I wanted to make sure I got this ball rolling before I left office,” he said.
Now, do I think this was predicting a loss in the upcoming municipal election? No, of course not. If Dyar thought he’d lose, he would have never announced his bid for reelection.
The statement was intriguing because I saw it as a synopsis of Dyar’s mindset as mayor.
In many conversations we’ve had over the last three-and-a-half years, the mayor has expressed his gratitude for holding the office his father once did. And even if he only gets one term, Dyar is determined to leave the city in better shape than it was before him. I believe those remarks to be genuine. That’s why it was no surprise to see his enthusiasm for the Legacy Commission’s upstart.
His excitement is warranted and should be infectious among the community. Frankly, this commission is what Boaz needs.
For years, different community members have tried to jumpstart historical groups and clubs, but eventually have faltered. Why? Because the city’s leaders haven’t been invested. To their credit, they didn’t realize how important it was to the community, but now, thanks to recent survey results concerning the city’s comprehensive plan, they do.
A board of three will lead the commission: former mayor Bruce Sanford, local business leader Bobby Weathers and local historian Wayne Hunt.
Hunt is arguably one of the most intelligent people I’ve had the pleasure meeting while working at The Reporter and covering all things Boaz. He is the manager of The History of Boaz, Al. on Facebook. His mind is filled with a near infinite well of knowledge concerning the city’s past.
Now he’ll be able to share his knowledge on a broader scale by helping the Legacy Commission open a museum and historical learning center at the old post office downtown.
I expect the museum/learning center to benefit Boaz for years to come, providing an avenue for residents young and old to learn about the history of their home — something that is rarely, if at all, found in high school-issued reading material.
Why is such a focus on local history important? In a time when Boaz leaders are looking to plan for the future through this comprehensive plan, understanding the community’s past is vital. Without it, I foresee the city going nowhere.
The late journalist Marcus Garvey said it best: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Taylor Beck is managing editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.