Chasing our Tails? More like tucking our tails in shame

We should be ashamed.

We should be ashamed because a viable company that would have created 30 jobs and filled the massive, empty County Fair building was turned away.

We should be ashamed we allowed fear to rule our thought process which when it inevitably does, leads to bad decisions and worse consequences that will hamstring this community for years.

We should be ashamed that when our self-generated fears that Chasing our Tails would somehow create noxious smells proved to be unfounded, we resorted to purporting technicalities in an effort to block them.

But we should be most ashamed by how we acted. We didn’t simply attend meetings and calmly and collectively voiced opposition or concerns. We formed a mob and we harassed. We called employees, banks, circulated misinformation and even threatened litigation.

So congratulations to that very vocal minority. It worked. Chasing our Tails owner Steve Trachtenberg said forget it. I’m not going where I’m not wanted.

And who can blame him? When it comes to opening a new business or industry in a town, especially one that employs 30 people, it’s a seller’s market. In fact, most communities are falling over themselves to the point where the business owner receives a free building, utilities, tax credits, infrastructure improvements, or some combination thereof.

By contrast, all Trachtenberg wanted was a permit. Nothing else. No handouts, no freebies. Just permission to run his business and contribute to the local economy.

But no, we couldn’t be that gracious. We were too concerned about a smell that doesn’t exist, traffic from phantom trucks, and legal technicalities.

So Trachtenberg will head on down the road and will certainly receive a very warm reception somewhere else; somewhere where residents aren’t ruled by fear and are willing to make decisions based on facts.

Meanwhile, the County Fair building will remain empty for who knows how long while we wish and dream the retail fairy fills it with some business that will never come here. With a building that size and its accompanying overhead, a retail business is going to have to rely on either high traffic (like a grocery store) or large items (like furniture) to survive.

But there’s a reason County Fair closed that store and it’s not because it was making too much money. It simply didn’t have the traffic needed. And there’s another reason Ashley’s is opening in the former Kmart building: It’s a better location.

So instead of having an empty building filled with a business that contributes jobs and tax dollars to the community, we can all have a front row seat to watch it slowly wither away into nothingness and turn into a blight; because let’s face it, that’s a lot better for the community.

And for that, we should be truly ashamed.