Tana Cook: Craig needs to have a plan in place for growth

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Craig needs to have a plan in place for growth

To the editor:

After attending the Sept. 27 Craig City Council meeting, I feel the need to express my concerns on the coming Wal-Mart.

I have been a resident of Craig and Moffat County for 29 years. During my residency here, it has become apparent the leaders of this community and county have no real plan for community and county growth; we just take everything as it comes.

The residents of the area take no active part in the shaping and growth of the community or neighborhoods. We elect City Council members and county commissioners. We all assume the leaders we elect know or have a better vision for our community and county. Have you ever asked them what that vision is? Throughout the years, I have heard that Craig and Moffat County strive to be Northwest Colorado's hub for communication, business and health care. Have we come near those goals?

Wal-Mart is presenting us with an opportunity to have a voice in the direction of our community. Do we really need or want another big-box store in our community? Does anyone remember what it was like when the first big box opened its doors and again when the second building was opened? Oh yes, we had more merchandise selections, but as the stocks were depleted, did the big box store replenish their stocks with the same type and quality?

I think as members of the community we should look at the big picture. What other things will affect our community besides "I will have another cheap place to shop?" It is common knowledge that a great number of residents shop outside the local businesses. Is it because the selection is better or greater?

How will the new big-box store affect property values for those homeowners who will be neighbors or those custom-built houses who have a great southern eastern view of the Yampa Valley? They will now have two big-box stores.

What about traffic flow in those neighborhoods where we currently have recreation areas for our children? I am referring to the Woodbury Sports Complex on Third Street.

What about costs for our city government to develop new streets or upgrade existing streets? How will this affect revenues and taxes?

What will we do with buildings that are left vacant when a big box business closes its doors or when the big-box decides to build a larger building because they want to expand?

Jobs. Yes, now this is the magic word in this community, isn't it? How many good-paying jobs with employee benefits will Wal-Mart really create?

How many people does it take to run a low-end size? Yes, low end, 100,000 square feet is on the lower end of the big-box scale.

On the positive side, I must admit the current big-box teaches our students a very valuable lesson -- They need to stay in school. Students quickly learn they will not be able to live on the wages they are paid.

We as community members continue to be naive where our elected officials are concerned. I say this after the comments made by former city council Dave DeRose, "We still have a lot to learn where community planning is concerned. We can't stop growth, but we might be able to direct it."

With this in mind, I will in the future adopt the same attitude most people have when purchasing a used car, "buyer beware."

We have been given the "great happy ending" by Wal-Mart representatives and the City Council. But, what are we really getting?

Tana Cook

Craig

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