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Think beyond ‘develop’

Amazon’s project on the West Plains gives me PTSD flashbacks.

I have lived in several nice towns that celebrated being discovered by large corporations. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. Those big companies chose us! It reminds me of a naive schoolgirl becoming giddy when a hunky guy notices her. Hunky corporations seldom put a priority on the locals’ best interests.

Yes, we will have more jobs. Most of them will pay quite modestly while adding to sprawl, traffic, and the need for more schools and infrastructure. Housing costs will go up. One spiral begets another.

Amazon will have 63 truck bays with parking for 300. Those trucks will add congestion to I-90 and our arterials, adding more stress to our nerves and our roads.

Some of our leaders’ eyes are glazing over at the thought of attracting more Fortune 500 companies. That scares me. There are alternative ways to imagine development. How about moderate growth, locally-generated business, and less gargantuan ambitions that prioritize quality of life over quantity of growth?

I have seen the action movie called “Progress.” Exciting at times. Absolutely hated the ending. We need leaders who can think outside of the standard “developer” box.

Larry Winters



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