After I read the email, I wrote him back, and thanked him for his feedback. I've written posts on this subject in the past, in fact, I've written about this subject a few times. It is not so much putting Traders Joe's, and Dicks Sporting Goods on a wish list, it has to go way beyond that. First a wish list, then a plan to entice a business, make it attractive for them to set up shop. Allow them the dignity to advertise their business at the street, offer tax incentives, help them navigate the process painlessly, and above all, do not take a business wanting to come to town as an interloper, something to be strong armed.
Yes, I've written on this subject before, and although I may have struck a chord with those living outside of Town Hall, the numbers wanting change, and more business in town are small.
I've done what I can do from where I am. The town has made Sturbridge so unattractive to business that we are no longer even on the short list of any major company. We will attract small, start ups, but do not hold your breath for a Dicks, or Trader Joe's.
Taxes, rules, regulations, restrictions detour companies around us. We have the best location in the commonwealth for business, and industry, yet we are nothing more than Central Massachusetts Version of Bugtussle.
I could go on about electing people with vision, and voting out those that we feel do not serve us well, but I've been down that road, and guess what?
Steve, your ideas are good, much like my own, and like others in town, but after
years of writing in this space I have come to realize that the enemy isn't so much those behind the tables on meeting night at the town hall, but is complacency. Our own complacency. We will occasionally rise up from our complacent sleep, blurt out a need for change, then lie back down again. I've seen it happen time, and time again over a multitude of issues ranging from trees, to sidewalks, to roofs, to doors without knobs, and everything in between.
Complacency will never grow a town, it is the enabler of the statusquo. Sturbridge will only change, and become what we envision, when we change, and step out of our comfort zone for awhile in order to make it happen.
Frankly, I don't see that happening anytime soon. There is no rider on horseback wearing a white hat galloping into our town, and the towns folk are too comfortable to raise their pitchforks in revolt.
Today, I hope everyone has an epiphany like Pogo did 42 years ago, only then can change truly begin.