And I don’t mean from the temperature outside!
Let’s talk about small town politics today. Yea, yea,yea. I know….never talk about politics or religion. Both of these will be mentioned in some capacity today!
I am taking a little heat about a recent post about Hazen. I will apologize (a little) because I am sorry if I implied that No How, No Way would Hazen ever consider going off the deep end and doing something like Annebelle Homes proposed. Duke Rosendahl is a force to be reckoned with. He is aware that the population is aging and that younger families are moving in. He also knows that no matter what happens in Hazen,somebody is going to be miffed. So I commend Hazen’s city leaders for trying to see all sides of a project.
Personal experience has shown me just how hard it is to bring change to a community where complacency reigns. No matter the personal rewards in the end.
A project with the scope of Annebelle’s would be great for any of these communities. In fact, Yanktoni Hill- between Wilton & Washburn- would be prime! Think of all the perks and longterm retention of both people and business.
A company that will come in, pay for all the improvements, build much needed housing, relocate whatever needs relocating and bring desprately needed retail (think tax base) doesn’t fall out of the sky every day.
The political part comes from trying to keep existing businesses happy. Think about it- in many small towns, the current businesses on Main St. have been the ONLY businesses for some years. They are complacent. They are accustomed to having our undivided attention. Many act as though they are doing us some sort of grand favor. (ex; at the Rexall in Washburn, the clerks only greet people know personally-and that’s no joke- and totally ignore ‘others’) In the end, these many of these business owners want to retire, leaving an empty store front. -With the attitude “I’ve done my years, now I’m done” with not so much as a give-a-damn as to who’s going to replace the service provided A thriving business attracts buyers in any city or town….
These businesses want & need our dollars to stay solvent. But many have forgotten when these very same towns had MULTIPLE, SUCCESSFUL BUISNESSES at one time. Competition drives business. It makes us remember what customer service is about. The younger peeps won’t hesitate to get in their cars and drive somewhere else. Myself included. I willfully drive an extra 7 miles the other direction to go to the Rexall in Turtle Lake where I am ALWAYS treated kindly and as if my patronage matters. I am not younger, but I refuse to be treated like a turd.
Think about it- In my area the general population is aging. We need younger people to move in to our communities. We need their disposable income to keep our Main Streets viable. We need their willingness to volunteer for our fire and ambulance and what-not. We need PEOPLE to fill our churchs, pay taxes to keep city services going, keep the enrollment up at our schools (so they don’t close or consolidate even more),shop in our stores, visit our parks and museums.
WE NEED PEOPLE TO BE OUR NEIGHBORS! To be our friends. To share the good times along with the bad.
In the bigger scope of things, we’re not getting any younger. Ask yourself “what happens if I suddenly can’t just go ‘do’ or go ‘get’ something? What happens if you can no longer just get in your car and go?”
Wouldn’t be nice to just go ‘downtown’ to get not only what you need, but what you want? Wouldn’t it be nice-if you couldn’t drive- to have a neighbor that would take you downtown? Or be able to just WALK to downtown? Wouldn’t it be nice when the grandkids or friends come to visit that you could take them downtown and get an icecream, or a trinket or whatever?
I know personally of several business owners in one of my nearby towns that actually called a community meeting to say No Way, No How were they going to stand for another ‘similar’ business to open in THEIR town. Citing that it “would take money off of their table”. I say BULL S***! Isn’t that what free enterprise is all about? Besides, think of all the potential revenue the town missed out on. I think it’s horse pucky letting a handful of greedy people dictate what a town will or will not have.
***I will say here that of all the small communities withing 50 miles of me (we live 17 miles to the nearest of them) Hazen and Turtle Lake embody true Small Town values! ****
Think of what a second bank could mean for some of these communities. DIVERSITY! There would be more loan competition, more money to lend and hense MORE BUSINESSES! More things to do. Maybe the possibility of a theater, mini-golf park or something fun for the whole family.
Think of what more retail would mean. It translates into more people coming to town to shop. Getting off the main road and seeing our sites, visiting the parks and museums, buying gas and gifts. Spreading the wealth. Keeping us solvent and RELEVENT!
Think of what more people in our schools and churches could mean. It could translate into more offerings for the church, which in turn trickle back into the community by the way of services offered to the needy, elderly or just community projects (such as comfort quilts etc). At school it could mean not having to cut out some classes-it means being able to keep and promote the arts. It means being able to stretch the Dollars-for-Scholars dollars.
It means a continuance if what most people hold dear Faith, Family, Friends and Community Spirit. Now think about the towns you personally know of that are defunct. Think about how quickly our own towns can literally fall apart. Picture your own town crumbling at your feet and people saying “I remember when….” Think about how easy it is to not do anything to help yourself. Think about rewarding it is to know that your town will still be here and thriving in 50 years!
All these towns have their yearly celebrations. Manytimes you hear comments like “the streets were filled with people” ” ….came ‘home’ for the day” etc. Why not make it so the people come town anyway? And not move away?
As stated in a much earlier blog, I AM SELFISH! I want my children to remember what their community has to offer and come back someday!