Editorial - Enough with the negativity; here's to a brighter 2009We’re growing awfully weary of the doom and gloom news about the economy – how terrible the stock market is doing, the crisis in the housing market, bailout after bailout…
We’re growing awfully weary of the doom and gloom news about the economy – how terrible the stock market is doing, the crisis in the housing market, bailout after bailout…
You get the picture. In fact, you can’t help but not to. The steady drumbeat of woeful economic times picks up whenever you turn on the TV, glance at a newspaper headline or hear another depressing report on the radio.
The way some people are talking, we may all just as well throw ourselves on the ground, wriggle in a hole and top it off with some fresh dirt.
The shame of it is, this fear and pessimism feeds on itself. Convinced that the economic sky is falling, people give up hope, pull back on investments and spending, and the cycle continues.
But if you look behind all those dark thunderclouds, there are some rays of hope shining through this whole mess – especially on the local level. You just have to recognize and remember them.
The Alexandria area isn’t in as bad a shape as some may think. In fact, a lot of positive signs are taking place. At Monday night’s Alexandria City Council meeting, for instance, several exciting projects rolled ahead – projects that promise to provide jobs, feed the local economy, help the area grow and meet pressing needs in the community.
The projects include a new veterans outpatient center, a new county jail, Knute Nelson’s $24.9 million new senior living campus, Lakewood Terrace’s $5.2 million 32-unit apartment facility, and a sweeping plan to develop the land near a proposed high school with a mix of housing and commercial uses.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the developments taking place in the area. Douglas County Hospital is in the middle of a major expansion. The Alexandria Technical College is adding a new law enforcement wing. Ground will be broken this spring on a new Alexandria Area YMCA.
It’s clear that a lot of exciting developments are taking place here, yet there’s still this pervasive fear and timidity. Randy Fischer, an Alexandria realtor, got so fed up with all the negativity brewing in the area that he took the time to add up all the building and construction activity that’s happening here. The newspaper will include the information soon in a story we’re researching about economic development but the gist of it is this: The value of the projects that have been either started or completed in the Alexandria area in 2008/2009 total more than $213 million. That’s nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.
That kind of investment in the future wouldn’t be taking place in a dead community. The Alexandria area is still growing, still vibrant, still brimming with possibilities.
As we head into the New Year, let’s focus on that. It sure beats fixating on the latest Wall Street plunge.
Echo Press editorials are the position of the newspaper’s editorial board, which includes Jody Hanson, publisher; Al Edenloff, editor; and news reporters Celeste Beam and Mike Enright.