11 Mar 2016

The Trials and Tribulations of Growth

Let’s face it: the majority of us reading this blog hail from another place on the map. We’re not from here, but this is our new home. cars-in-traffic-jamAnd the in-migration continues.

Twenty years ago, broadcaster Dan Rather remarked how fortunate we are to be able to form, design and influence the creation of a city. And to look back years from now and determine if we’ve left something special for future generations.

Annexation, in many places, has run its course. State and city lines have now been – or are being – reached. Our cities are healthy because of growth and annexation, but this will soon no longer be an option.

The next 20 years are really going to test our courage. We move here – and then we want to pull up the drawbridge. We don’t want our taxes to be raised – ever. Politicians consistently base their platform on “No tax increases.”

Growth and annexation have allowed for the absorption of expenses without taxation. But without that option, we must raise taxes or settle for reduced services from our governments.

Toll roads have been the subject of much recent discussion. Who in their right mind would want those? Once again, pull up the drawbridge. Many of us came here from states where there were toll roads, but now we say “not here.” But if we don’t want toll roads, we must be willing to raise taxes to build and maintain the roads.

Density is a huge issue. Many of neighbors who live on connector roads are now witnessing tear-downs of single-family homes to make way for multi-family dwellings – and they are remembering the previously peaceful thoroughfares.

We must have a transportation plan in order to avoid urban sprawl. We will continue to gather people and housing around transportation, and we will build up, rather than out.

As a region, we are a teenager experiencing growing pains. We know what we want to look like when we grow up. Just as our children go behind the moon for a while, it’s a beautiful thing when they come out the other side. We have a plan for growth; we just need to be confident that it’s a good plan.

The drawbridge is broken. It cannot and will not be drawn again to prevent in-migration. We have all the good stuff. The secret is out and everyone wants a piece. Can you blame them?

Pat Riley

Pat Riley,  CEO and President, Allen Tate Company

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