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Editors column: Making Marshall relevant

June 16, 2012
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

There is a renewed sense of optimism in Minneapolis, where the Vikings' new stadium, including any Metrodome-related work, is reportedly expected to create about 7,500 construction jobs.

The AP reported that north Minneapolis has lost jobs twice as fast as in the rest of the city. Minnesota has a low unemployment rate compared to most of the rest of the nation, and the new stadium should bring our number down even more.

That's why building stadiums is a good thing. Let's leave politics out of it, what's done is done and it's time to look ahead to the benefits of a new stadium. Even if you couldn't get on board with building a billionaire owner a new stadium, you can't deny the job creation aspect of it.

Which brings us to the proposed amateur sports facility in Marshall.

The $12.9 million project has its supporters in Marshall and Lyon County, to be sure, but the future of the complex rides on this year's election, where voters will have their say on local tax bumps. And there are plenty of naysayers out there lining up to vote no on extra taxes that will go toward the new stadium and expansion of the MERIT training center.

Supporters of the two local projects have their work cut out for them and will be working throughout the summer campaigning, if you will, for the projects. And while the thought of anything taxes might not sit well with many middle-class folks, one needs to consider all the facts, including that many out-of-towners will be paying those taxes. And, like the Vikings' stadium, building a new sports complex in town will create local jobs. It's no different than any other major construction project. Buildings don't build themselves.

It's easy to think, "I won't benefit from a new sports facility, a few sheets of ice, why should I vote yes in November?"

Fair question, but isn't it a bit narrow-minded not to at least consider all the positives that could come from these two projects moving forward before concluding that they're just not worth it?

It might sound like I'm stumping for the sports complex and MERIT?Center. I'm not. I can see why some people in Marshall want nothing to do with this. But I'm big on selling points, and I'm big on progress, too, and progress in this day and age doesn't come cheap.

I'm not telling you how to vote, I'm saying consider everything when making that vote; thoughtfully weigh the pros and cons, just as you would when voting for a candidate for office. And remember, there is no billionaire owner who spends more on one suit than you make in two weeks waiting to cash in on these projects.

The sports complex and MERIT Center should be viewed as an opportunity to create future opportunities, not just for Marshall, but for the region. Our community leaders are trying to keep Marshall relevant, much like leaders of the past did to get the university built here. Given where Marshall is located out here in the prairie, gaining and maintaining that relevance is no easy task.

Ask metro politicians who shy away from committing bonding money to rural Minnesota cities for their thoughts on Marshall and, at most, you might get something about Schwan's. To many of Metroites, Marshall's a pit stop on the way to pheasant hunting in South Dakota.

Economic development is at the core of healthy communities, and Marshall can grow more and prosper, but can only do so as a united community.

Sounds kinda corny, doesn't it? But it's true. And the cities and towns that don't buy into it, usually pay.



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