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It will take a community to support Harmar area

The west side of Marietta has taken some hard blows in recent days.

First, came news that the Historic Harmar Bridge would be closed, possibly permanently, and at best for a very long time until funds can be raised to repair it.

Then, on Monday, the Marietta City Schools Board of Education voted to close Harmar Elementary School (along with Putnam in Devola) effective with the 2021-2022 school year.

The school is the heart of the community. The bridge is an essential link to the rest of the city. To lose them will not only be heartbreaking but it will require a reenvisioning of how the west side operates.

There has been such hard work in recent years to overcome some challenges in the neighborhood. That includes the revitilization of Flanders Field and the formation of Main Street West, an offshoot of Marietta Main Street.

We don’t want to see that progress stop when Harmar loses its bridge and its school. But to ensure that it won’t will take planning and effort, and not just from those that live or work right there. Let’s not forget that, though separated by a river, the west side is just that-the west side of Marietta. It’s part of our great city, both as an integral part of our history and as a unique piece of our present. We need city leaders, business owners and residents from all parts of Marietta to care and to help.

There must be a plan in place to address the void left by these closures. We need to determine how it might impact businesses and what resources we can use to combat that. We need organizations like the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce and Marietta Main Street to have seats at the table, as well as the City of Marietta.

Harmar can survive these setbacks but it will take work. We know there are some passionate people already working on behalf of the west side. To the rest of Marietta–let’s join them.

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