Archive for Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Shout sand Murmurs

Just imagine the city’s future

March 17, 2004

Growth is ubiquitous.

Take a drive through the city. Take a drive through the county.

New rooftops reach through the trees, new driveways spin off county roads.

Take a look at school enrollment numbers -- all growing. Check out the traffic on U.S. Highway 24-40. Think about the services needed to accommodate everyone and everything. Water, sewer, roads, and things we don't even think about -- all work together to maintain the quality of life to which we have become accustomed.

We'd be in a fix if our roads were full of potholes, if the water didn't run when we turned the faucet, if toilets didn't flush -- if the lights didn't turn on.

We rely on others to provide so much. Yet sometimes we tend to forget we are a part of those systems.

At least I know I do.

As our community grows, issues that follow growth -- and its ever-increasing demand for more infrastructure -- will follow.

It's easy to be complacent when everything's working.

But as we look around and see a possible need for more stoplights, for more water, for better roads, for a solution to crowded classrooms, for more recreation, or for whatever services on which we rely, it becomes clear that as the area's growth swells, these services will be tapped to their potential.

This week, The Mirror looks at meetings and events covering several facets of infrastructure needs spurred by growth -- the school district's proposed construction plan, the county's proposed road improvement fee increase, and the city's start on a new sewer plant.

As our area develops, there are also the predominantly unspoken concerns -- what happens to the wildlife that finds its habitat disappearing? What happens to the farmers who are too young to retire, yet find they can make more money off their land by selling it to developers than by farming?

And there are questions about the type of development that's best for us. Do we really want to be another faceless Kansas City suburb filled with businesses and developments so alike that its difficult to tell one from another? Or do we want to remain a town with an identity? A town with a heart?

Now -- while Tonganoxie still has a charming downtown and an identity to match, while it's still a popular residential destination spot -- is a prime time to get involved.

Think about what an ideal Tonganoxie should be like five or 10 years down the road. And when you come up with ideas, share them with others.

Yes the growth appears to be everywhere, and it appears to be unstoppable.

But I also believe that a community that works together also is unstoppable. Think about what things -- big and small -- would make Tonganoxie an even better place to live.

Your ideas needn't be earthshaking. And chances are, whatever you're thinking, there's someone else out there with a similar idea.

And you never know, it just might take root.

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