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home : opinion : editorial July 26, 2017

3/15/2017 2:40:00 PM
More than cheap talk

The number 5,000 has come up a lot, lately, at Windom city council meetings -  5,000, as in the council's goal of hitting a Windom population of 5,000 by 2020.
It seems that every council member has, at one time or another, stressed the importance of population growth. That is an excellent sign that our council is looking to support the needs of our businesses and residents.

However, the council should not forget that talk is cheap.

The phrase "5,000 by 2020" was born at a city planning meeting in the spring of 2015. By that time, the council was keenly aware that 5,000 is more than just an arbitrary number that looks good on a population sign at the edge of town. A city of 5,000 is eligible for more than $300,000 in annual state highway maintenance funds. That income is the rough equivalent of a 30 percent Windom tax levy increase every year.

Of course there are other significant impacts Windom stands to gain if it can bump its population up from the 4,646 currently listed on the city's sign. It means more homeowners, customers, volunteers, parishioners, students and potentially more taxpayers, just to name a few things.

And, it's not like the council has done nothing to support that goal. In the past two years, the council helped promote business expansion at North Windom Industrial Park and along the Highway 60-71 corridor. The council also supported the new Prairie View housing development, a partnership with the Windom School District to spark new home construction. And, EDA Executive Director Drew Hage recently introduced abatement as another home building incentive.

However, Prairie View remains empty and our city has virtually no middle class apartments. If our council truly wants to offer more than empty talk about "5,000 by 2020," it needs to push harder for results.

 - Rahn Larson

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