Archive for Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bring it downtown

November 1, 2007

Ouch! Again a reader of the De Soto Explorer, a councilman no less, has chosen to attack me and articles I have written. He states I think everything is bad in city government, the chamber and the Economic Development Council and after weeks of complaining I have offered nothing to correct either the problem nor any fresh ideas.

First off I don't believe all is lost, nor do I believe everybody in government or the agencies above mentioned are bad. Those are his words, not mine.

When I wrote about Morse Market closing I blamed no one, but merely wondered why city leaders remained quiet about it despite knowing for a year it would close. They were more concerned with a river front park then losing the town's only grocery store. The more business you lose, Mr. Councilman, the harder it is to attract new businesses when they see that others are failing. As I wrote in that letter, I also said the town would die unless people support the local business community.

As for the river front park, I and two of your councilman think it was a bad idea to build it on a flood plain. I assume you will soon attack them in the paper for voicing their opinions as well. Anyone with two cents worth of common sense should question spending money on anything when its predictable future is in doubt.

You need to get your facts straight. I didn't say that you were planning on using eminent domain to revitalize downtown. I merely suggested that those downtown businesses/residents get involved and ask hard questions at the meetings to find out what the long-term plans were. I then used an example of revitalization I was familiar with and how eminent domain was used in Iowa by the city against property owners. I am all for beautification of downtown but a little leery of the word revitalization. Just suppose, Mr. Councilman that you, the mayor and the other council members all lose in the next elections. Can you still guarantee eminent domain or tax increases won't be used by the newly elected officials?

I believe it futile to offer ideas when the city council has already made up its mind on any particular issue but here goes. The primary purpose is to attract people downtown, which in turn will attract new business. Here is a novel idea -- why not schedule events downtown? Instead of fighting mud, mosquitoes and fish smell on the river have De Soto Days downtown. How hard would it be to block off the square and set up the carnival? How about having Blues and Barbeque downtown; no mud, nice dry streets, a level place to erect a stage. Maybe you could have sidewalk sales, city-sponsored garage sales, classic car/motorcycle shows and American Indian events all downtown on the square. Maybe, just maybe downtown businesses might profit and new ones might come. I would also improve the town street lighting as most streets are very poorly lit. I would address junk cars, property clean up and city street repairs, all of which are noticeable to visitors to De Soto. I assume a myriad of excuses will be found as to why these ideas won't work, but there they are nonetheless.

Bill Trimble

De Soto

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