Growing with the changing times
By Will Collins
I have witnessed first-hand the growth our community has experienced over the last 20 years, and can imagine those of you living here before me could discuss it even further. Obviously, it is not only Winchester and Clark County, but our entire region as well as those that surround us. The issue, however, presents itself when population growth is higher than economic growth.
It doesn’t matter if you go to Lexington or travel in either direction on our interstates, it is clear to see most areas have outgrown their carrying capacity.
New road constructions, new shopping plazas and additional schools are popping up everywhere as cities and towns try to keep up.
I, for one, support the idea of not settling for keeping up but instead planning for our future more than we actually are.
Let’s face it, Clark County, we are growing and will continue to grow, so it is important we take advantage of the resources we have.
One of the most crucial elements to our success is, fortunately, already present and that is Interstates 64 and 75. You don’t need me to explain the value of easy access and how important it is for any community, I’ll just state we already have it and leave it at that.
I realize Lexington is a much larger city with a higher population, but it has become a chore to even go there.
Many of their roads can no longer support the the residents, visitors and commuters that travel them.
When I was working in Lexington, I could leave work and be back in Winchester before many people could cross town in their own city.
With a per capita growth of similar comparison, we are seeing this in our community as well. While traffic congestion is at a smaller scale, we need to see the writing on the wall and prepare ahead of time.
To help with such expansion, we need to offer more amenities in order to attract new businesses. New businesses such as restaurants, hotels, shops and other establishments mean more economic growth for our town, allowing us to compete with our own expanding population.
As a conservative, I envision we, the people of Clark County, coming together and crafting the means of preparing for expansion with as little governmental involvement as possible.
While our government will have some important play, true economic, personal and community success stems from the private sector contributing to our economic growth and prosperity.
When business is thriving, those seeking employment will thrive as well, but more importantly, everyone in the community will have these opportunities.
Look at it this way: Our goal should be to increase opportunity for all classes, and the only way to achieve this is through growth.
We have witnessed it for years; when there is no growth, government tries to compensate for this through economic programs and redistribution which, whether we want to admit it or not, ends up in disaster.
To reflect on the idea of a regional sports complex, which I pitched in a recent column and received great feedback, this amenity would be a major resource in drawing businesses to Winchester.
We have heard the term “trickle down” effect in the past, but this is definitely what would happen as everyone in the community would see the economic benefits as well as morale and personal growth.
In a perfect world, everyone would and should have opportunities to be successful. We as a community have the means to make this a reality and should envision this when we make decisions for progress.
In his book, “The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth,” Benjamin Friedman states “economic growth leads to a rising standard of living, which in turn leads to greater social tolerance, commitment to fairness and dedication to democracy. A stagnant economy however, creates a zero-sum politics leading to a decrease in societies spirit of generosity and weakens cultural confidence.”
Why on Earth would we not choose this type of success and personal growth?
Let’s go all the way back to Seneca who lived between 4 BC and AD 65 for our weekly quote: “Economy is to late when you are at the bottom of your purse.”
Political enthusiast Will Collins is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and has called Winchester home for the past 20 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org