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Repairing Our Community

By Staff | Sep 1, 2021

Where are the best places to live and raise families? Everyday social media posts indicate people are not totally satisfied no matter where they live. Arguments about which states provide the best atmosphere for retirees or young people raising families, include everything from climate change, crime rates, healthcare and overall cost of living. Housing and the job market seem to be at the top of the list for where to live, with education and infrastructure following close behind.

It’s important to consider a wide variety of options when making a life changing move. First it’s important to acknowledge that life is not always better somewhere else and that many people all over the U.S. would be willing to trade places with you in a heartbeat. Looking at the events of the past few weeks it’s easy to see that safety should be the number one concern when settling down for the long haul.

While big-city life with it’s wide array of services available in one place might draw many to want that life style. The bad often far outweighs the good when one considers the cost of living, traffic jams, and high crime rates. Many are now considering safety as a major factor when determining where to locate. Recently we have seen the results of climate change and the catastrophic damage caused by fires and flooding. Many places that once were considered safe zones are no longer so.

The recent flooding disaster in Tennessee resulting in death and destruction is an example of weather most have never seen or thought would ever happen.

A few years back Hundred, W.Va. was hit by flooding from 11 plus inches of rain. Total destruction of their downtown and outlying areas occurred. Waverly, Tenn. was hit last week with 17 inches in just a matter of hours.

The truth is flooding doesn’t just happen along the coasts or in low lying areas. When storms of epic proportions drop rain of a foot or more and temperatures soar above 100 degrees with drought conditions, anything can happen.

Still many are finding it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to live in township communities due to high rent, and ever increasing utility bills. Small communities seem to be hit the hardest because of lack of industry and business which causes the burden to fall on residents who are mostly elderly or unemployed.

One resident of a local community said he and his wife both work full time, yet they can’t keep up with the ever increasing cost of living in town so they moved to the country and took his mother, saving the family over 200 dollars a month in city fees and leaving the city with five fewer residents. He expressed disappointment that small towns don’t look for ways to cut costs.

City Governments living outside there means and continuing to give large raises are driving the spirit right out of their towns. Proof of this would be a ride through local communities for a first hand look at the number of vacant homes, dilapidated structures and unkempt properties. Or for that matter the number of mattresses and box springs setting along the curbs and sidewalks.

Still yet, it’s easy to see why we should turn to re-investing in township communities, with a focus on building neighborhood hubs that foster the same relationships we came to know in the mid part of the 20th century.

The redevelopment of our infrastructure is without a doubt the most important way to satisfy and maintain the routines of everyday life in much of America. Hard work and perseverance are core values that arise naturally in flourishing communities. Everyone works together to form a better way of life without throwing a hardship on each other.

Equip future generations with the tools required to bridge the chasms that separate neighbors with disparate points of view. The nation’s vast system of public schools may prove to be the most convenient mechanism employed toward that aim. To the degree that the nation’s public schools can produce graduates with more emotional intelligence, future generations will be better equipped for an ever changing society.

The challenges posed by our evolving society can be solved by requiring legislators to re-examine the role of government in the decades to come. Government has an important role to play in providing the nation with better education, nutrition, health care, job opportunities, and infrastructure. We have seen that with the recent American Rescue Plan, which should help solve some major infrastructure problems, especially in small towns.

The eroding foundation of township community will only get worse, it can no longer function as we once had hoped and expected. Our temptation, time and again, will be to find scapegoats and assign blame. But we would be wiser to accept that American life is different now, and has undergone a deep change from industry to a service society, and small town America will only survive if we adapt to that change.

As President Reagan put it in his inaugural address in 1981, “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Not sure how he determined that statement, but it could be he saw the future decline in small town America.