Rail Guthrie: Progress needs to be controlled
Your editorial on Sunday, July 16 was on point and true of the many small towns that face questions on how to survive their popularity when discovered by tourists.
My town (in Florida) suffered the same question in the 1950s and ‘60s, and look at it now. Once it had a thriving truck farm, flowers, orange groves, cattle and shrimping industry. Soon the visitors who once complimented us on our quaintness and quiet lifestyle wanted more and more amenities they enjoyed in New York and Cleveland and Chicago.
One by one the industries faded and disappeared and questions grew concerning how to support the new demands — more schools, more roads and where is the museum and the philharmonic?
In other words they didn’t integrate — it was total change, mirroring the cities they came from — local lifestyle be damned.
In order to meet these new demands, more and more “variances” and concessions were made by officials and businesses. Restrictions, once seemed necessary for the good, were rewritten. Little by little, the “old town” disappeared and was replaced by something that most of the original visitors wouldn’t desire or recognize.
When you begin to accommodate all the demands — softball clubs, dog lovers, bicyclists, river enthusiasts, etc. — the town will no longer resemble the place you once thought of as a desirable place to live.
I know this will fall on deaf ears as we hurdle toward keeping up with Denver and other places you escaped from in order to find happiness.
Progress has a nasty side to it if you’re not courageous enough to control it.
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