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October 21, 2017

Editorial: What is wrong with Marshall, Texas?


By Becky Holland, pineywoodsnews@yahoo.com

MARSHALL – Marshall, Texas is not unlike most medium-sized communities across the United States. There are the typical sections of neighborhoods for different races, for the races to mix, for different economic classes, yadda, yadda. There is the city-run government, and since, Marshall is the county seat for Harrison County – the county governing offices are housed there.

There is a quaint little downtown area. There are at last count at least five fast-food chicken places, a plethora of doughnut stores, a mosaic of payday loan companies, two grocery stores, a Walmart, gas stations, two McDonald’s, two Wendy’s and two Whataburgers.  Churches seem to line every corner.

Marshall has four colleges – East Texas Baptist University, Wiley College, Panola College and Texas State Technical College. There is  a movie theater, a Planet Fitness, an Anytime Fitness, a ton of dollar type stores and a bowling alley.

Allegedly, there is an ‘old boy network’ that means the town is run by old money. There are questionable characters in leadership as elected officials and in various departments of governing bodies. There is always some sort of issue involving race, economy and crime. Let’s not forget the fusses over the lack of quality of service provided by governing agencies, and what about the buildings that are falling apart. Budgetary concerns top the list of a lot of coffee club discussions. There are complaints that Marshall is not growing.

So, what in the world is wrong with Marshall?

As an outsider who lived here for two and a half years, and was privy to the behind the scenes look at city and county government and civic organizations as a reporter, and later as a city employee, I can honestly say, there is nothing wrong with the city of Marshall.

Marshall can’t be blamed for what woes its citizens. Maybe it is the attitudes and actions of we the citizens that  need changing? Marshall is a typical east Texas community.

If you really looked at the city of Marshall, you would find a true gem of a city. Full of colorful characters, tradition and charming history, Marshall offers much to those who live here or visit here.

All you have to do is look outside the box, step beyond the negative boundaries and open your eyes.

Take time to take the driving tour of the area. Read the historical markers. Ride the streets looking at houses for sale, and notice the care that some of your neighbors take on their homes. Look at the styles of homes that are built in Marshall. Just looking at the styles – and boy there are plenty of unique styles – of the homes will give you a hint that the people in this city are of a different, unique lot.

This makes the community even more appealing. Your neighbor could be an award-winning rodeo champion or a nationally-known retired chef or a cousin of a professional football player. Who knows who you might be standing behind in the line at Kroger? It could be a real estate mogul or a former Jazz recording artist.

There is nothing wrong with the city of Marshall.

Be proud of your city.  There really isn’t anything wrong with the city of Marshall.

I came to Marshall because of family history. I have had my Marshall experience, and appreciate it so much. Now, I am on to my next adventure. I wish you all well. Who knows, we may get together again one day – me and the city of Marshall or me and you.

Until then, wear your Marshall pride.

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5 Responses “Editorial: What is wrong with Marshall, Texas?”

  1. Steven McFarland
    June 17, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Dear Becky,

    I do like your positive outlook on Marshall. However, I must take exception to there being nothing wrong with Marshall. I don’t want to be outwardly negative about it, but suffice to say that the Forward Marshall group I have organized would not even exist if there weren’t for problems and issues in Marshall. With you suggesting that “Maybe it is the attitudes and actions of we the citizens that need changing”, it seems to me that you actually do know there is something wrong, especially since Marshall really IS its citizens.

    Simply stated, there has to be something wrong if our population hasn’t grown any in the past 55 years while some cities around us have doubled their population during that timeframe. Why have ‘we’ not grown? Regardless of that answer, I have asked for everyone to not complain about it, but rather discuss the issues, recognize what needs to be done, and then we all work together to do it.

    Marshall indeed has such great potential. It can all be realized when we work together. I challenge each of us to do just that.

  2. Claudia Lowery
    June 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Great insight and I agree that attitudes must change before anything lasting happens. I, for one, am amazed at the HUGE talent around Marshall in the arts. We have many, many artists, musicians, writers and even actors! There are good places to eat and cute boutiques for clothes and accessories. As a downtown merchant owner of Gingko Leaf Gallery I’m always pleased when visitors pass through commenting, “Your gallery reminds me of some of the galleries we’ve seen in New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado…we NEVER expected to see something like this in a town this size!” Marshall has the potential to be better than good…to be great, but citizens MUST take time to bring family and friends downtown to shop/eat and even do so themselves to support local businesses. Yes, there are times you’ll need to head to Longview or Shreveport, but seriously, we’ve got plenty here from which to choose. Also…find out when and where art and music events are going on and attend. Nearly every month there’s an art show and weekly there are musical performances that rival anyone anywhere. So please….feel the love for Marshall. We need you.

  3. John Godwin
    June 17, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Good for you, Becky Holland. I have always loved Marshall and hate the negative attitudes. I hear a lot of the same thing from folks in Paris, where I live now. It’s a great town too, but people are in such a habit of dwelling on the negative they don’t see the good stuff.

  4. jenny
    June 18, 2016 at 10:22 am

    There are numerous organized volunteer groups that Marshall has to assist people and families who need food, clothing, protection, or assistance. Martha’s Kitchen, Marshall food bank, Hope’s closet (help for battered spouses),. CASA (for abused children), and Hospice are just a few of Marshall’s volunteering opportunities to assist our people..
    Marshall’s Michelson museum is a top grade museum, free to the public, and they offer free art classes for children through the year. There the Visual Art Center, a place for artists to gather to share, and work,. And of course out newest Marshall diamond … Gingko Leaf Gallery…

  5. Daren Horton
    June 24, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Steve and Becky’s comments go hand in hand. There is nothing wrong with Marshall because efforts such as Forward Marshall have been, and will continue to work to improve upon the special city we all enjoy. It is my opinion that the school bond package was the best thing to happen in Marshall in decades.
    My wife and I moved here eight years ago (not in the city limits) but I have a business in downtown Marshall. I hear the phrase “Marshall will never change” often. However, in time I have been here, right before our eyes we have seen the completion of the Courthouse, renovation of many downtown shops, new public restrooms, Telegraph Park, new Chase Bank building, the development of Second Saturday and Marshall Main Street, All American City designation and the list goes on and on. Marshall is changing and will continue to do so. The work of groups like Forward Marshall and having citizens who care and become vested in the city’s future is very special.
    I don’t take Becky’s comment that “There is nothing wrong with Marshall” so literally. There are SOME things wrong with any and all cities. But the theme of the message is a great thing to hear. Changing the negative perception of the school district, hospital and life in Marshall is like a big ship that turns slow. I feel blessed to be a part of the change I see taking place and have great expectations for a Forward Marshall.

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