Your Opinion: Data demonstrates we must act
Sunday, February 5, 2012
The past two years have been focused on a single goal: exploring the Transformation projects to determine whether our community is ready to move forward in a dramatic way.
It was not easy. In fact, the hundreds of volunteers who went to numerous committee meetings and then researched ideas on their own time know that it was hard, but it is going to be great. Some of these ideas are 20-40 years old. How long are we willing to wait to Transform Jefferson City? Will our legacy be that we recognized this significant moment in our lives? Will future generations look back and ask us, “So what was that like?”
We need to remember why Transformation is being proposed. What does our community have to overcome? Cole county citizens aged 55-64 doubled in eight years, while those aged 35-44 shrunk by 16 percent during the same time period. State government is shrinking its workforce. Manufacturing in the U.S. is decreasing. This crisis, combined with the vision of hundreds of people during public focus groups in the summer of 2010, is what motivated the volunteers.
Thousands of pages of studies were completed last year by hundreds of volunteers. In addition, input from an economic development consultant pointed the way to the projects that need to be completed. It wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t just a few people, as the opposition has claimed. It isn’t risky.
Other conservative capital cities, Oklahoma City and Topeka for example, have found a way to attract young professionals and avoid some of the economic woes of other cities. We can learn from their success. Their plans are a lot like our own Transformation.
To all of you who want a better Jefferson City, this is our chance.
Please vote yes on Feb. 7.