Thank you for providing me with a modicum of grace, and not publishing my first response. It shows a true integrity and character and is greatly appreciated.
You are correct in your response to my first letter that there have been some improvements to ElDo, but I regret that you missed the true nature and message I was attempting to communicate. I also agree, there are things which bring pride to ElDo, while there are others which bring a sense of shame and infamy. Sadly, the latter began with my generation in the ‘70s. That would be the drug culture which I heard is pervasive.
One must note, and accept, that while there is a drug culture among the affluent, it most often accompanies the impoverished, the poor and those who have lost hope. Drugs provide a means of escaping the drudgery and despair for the poor.
So, to return to our discussion
There are improvements which have been made downtown, but to what benefit. The sidewalks are new, but they pass in front of empty stores and are unused. Yes, Rusty Norval has brought new business in the building that sat vacant for years after the Gun Store and Museum closed down. Yes, the Community Building has been renovated and upgraded. But the sad fact remains, the first, and most obvious site, encountered are the vacant stores, the empty parking spots and the lack of activity, or bustle, downtown.
Yes, there are a few places where grocery items can be purchased, but only one true grocery store. Yes, are places where ready to eat food may be purchased, but most of them are “fast food joints.” What about the diners, the cafes, a nicer restaurant?
Yes, there are things that have come to ElDo to enhance the education of the young. AND I must say with some pride that I am honored to have been a part of the early birth of the now proud tradition of the ElDo High Music Program. Go Marching Bulldogs!
Yet, a truth remains. The gains have not kept up with the losses. ElDo has lost far more than it has gained, and the youth are the most obvious treasure which is being lost.
The most important thing I have learned, in the Navy Submarine Force, and the corporate world I’ve worked in during my career is this; it is easy to offer excuses for failure, but it is essential to provide solutions. Anyone can provide an excuse and quit, but only the strong will admit a mistake and then offer a solution to overcome the problem.
It is easy to say that small towns are decreasing, but it is another to look for examples of success and growth. Many small towns have failed, but promisingly enough, many others have overcome their demise and are now thriving, growing communities.
True leadership will not succumb to the failures of the past, or the apparent imminent demise of a corporation or community. True leadership will seek out and discover new and fresh alternatives to reverse the demise and bring success. A True leader will not only ask, “why?” but will also ask, “why not?” A true leader will look at the past, analyze the failures and shortcomings to identify the problem, then will strive to implement new policies to fix the problem.
ElDo has many strengths which a larger town or city cannot possess. Farmers are great examples of many of these; hard work, tenacity,and a will to overcome adversity. But one of the biggest strengths I see in the heartland that is often lacking in the city is Common Sense. And from a financial perspective, an extremely low cost of living, this is utterly important to attract business.
So, how can new business be attracted to ElDo to keep the dollars at home and not being spent in nearby communities? The municipal government can offer tax incentives to businesses to come and establish their facilities. The tax reductions will be offset by the influx of new employees and new income. The property owners must have a change of mind in what they offer these same potential businesses. Why not reduce the rates for rent and leases? The argument will be that the property is worth more, but isn’t some income from the property better than none? By lowering rent or lease rates business will be encouraged to stay, while now it is driven away by rates that are too high.
Promote ElDo as a vibrant community with a low cost of living, to attract more than just those retiring. Seek out businesses and corporations wanting to build new facilities and factories, and offer them deals they can’t refuse, rather than ones which must be refused because they are too expensive.
ElDo’s leadership must wake up and realize that if they are not presenting solutions and options for growth, they are contributing to the demise. Leaders need to be identified that will lead ElDo out of her slow lethargic death, and breath life and vitality to a community with such great promise. Leaders who will lead with passion and zeal, excitement and energy. Leaders who will provide the youth with a reason to stay, or come back after college, or – in my case – give others a reason to come home.
ElDo is a town full of promise and possibilities, but she is slowly dying.
Albert Einstein provides us with the best quote for ElDo and her situation:
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
ElDo’s leaders need to change their thinking to fix the problems . ElDo can become an even better place to live and work and raise a family. But ElDo needs to wake up and bring the change itself, no one will do it for her.
Class of ‘77