Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

Letter: Zimmerman

Shop locally solution to business retention

September 27, 2007

I will miss Morses' Market when it closes for many of the same valid reasons expressed in a letter in the Sept. 20 De Soto Explorer. I have known the Morse family all my life, beginning with Ted's grandfather as our families were both farmers of the Kansas River Valley.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, in our country we live in a capitalistic society. As technology and economic factors bring about change, we stand to mourn the loss with that which we are familiar. I don't ever want to hear about how much someone saved at Wal-Mart. I hate what they do to small businesses nationally.

If De Soto is to attract a visiting clientele, it will require more than a grocery store to draw them off Kansas Highway 10, an amphitheater on the bank of the Kansas River with frequent large events has the potential of bringing in people and their money. Yes, the river will flood in the future, but in the last 56 years there has been one minor flood event on that proposed park site.

Blaming the city of De Soto government and the De Soto Economic Development Council for a business failure is not an appropriate or accurate assertion to make. Because of state regulations, there are very limited actions cities can make to give assistance to small businesses in their struggle to survive. In this case, some steps were taken but, unfortunately, didn't bear fruit.

To really become informed on what is available to new and existing businesses in the way of industrial revenue bonds, the cost and application process, I suggest you obtain the industrial bond packet. I believe you will find that nothing is given away. With tax abatements, nothing can be given that doesn't exist -- that's why it's called an abatement and not a giveaway.

When a former health service provider in De Soto finally admitted it was not searching for a new doctor for the local clinic but were going to close the facility, the combined resources of the city of De Soto, De Soto Chamber of Commerce, De Soto Economic Development Council and citizens found a solution. When possible, those entities work diligently to serve the public.

If I could return De Soto to what I remember it was 50 years ago, I would. But I and no one else can.

Change is inevitable and if De Soto is to survive, it's two-block historic downtown business district must be revitalized and expand, just as you don't drive the same automobile you did in 1957 or live in the same house without remodeling.

All too often, I have felt it necessary to quote from the cartoon character Pogo when trying to understand a situation occurring in his hometown swamp. "We have met the enemy, and it is us," he observed.

If you are sincere about the desperate need for a hometown grocery store, then put your money into a community owned and operated store. Stop playing the blame game.

Darrel Zimmerman

De Soto

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