Friday, May 16, 2003

George Mindling Column 5-16-2003 - May Not be Poor for Long

Port Charlotte May Not be Poor for Long

It was pointed out recently that Charlotte County lies between the two richest and fastest growing counties in Florida: Collier, one county removed to the south. and Sarasota, our immediate neighbor to the north. It is understood that someone, sometime, will get off the interstate while zipping between the two hot spots to see what's in the middle.

Even the big-time Tarpon fishermen flying in to the Charlotte County Airport will take a second look at State Road 776 as they slow down to read the new signs welcoming A: The Cleveland Indians. ' B: Manchester United, or C: well, probably not much else would slow them down en route to the waiting Silver King, unless they are startled by the construction that may be the new dream business and social center of Charlotte County.

Those who own commercial property elsewhere obviously oppose the new growth patterns focusing on the area the county plans on acquiring. Many current residential property owners in the affected area also oppose the plan. Even the interpretation of "property seizure by eminent domain" statutes may cause a disruption in the county's proposed financing. The proposed new center faces challenges just 01.0; all major growth projects.

It was also pointed out that the anti-growth people still have considerable leverage in Charlotte County, regardless of the hidden agendas that only surface after the start of construction or the passage of favorable laws. One thing is certain: Charlotte County will grow, regardless of the skills of planners or the vision of developers. In 20 years Port Charlotte will he as different as it was 20 years ago.

How it grows in comparison to Collier and Sarasota counties is obvious: climate and water will always bring the seasonal resident or the retirees who need a service support economy, while quality of life. which includes schools. employment and health. will bring the permanent wage-earning residents and their families.

Focusing on real issues of fiscal responsibilities and duties to the future of the community. rather than creating governmental empires or responding to financial or "political" pressure is always a difficult realization for any governmental body created of lay people. empowered by popular vote. Professional government employees, whether known as bureaucrats or not, are the mainstay of any government, on the federal, state and county levels. Through experience and education. they are the implementers, the approvers, the doers of government.

They know the boundaries of regulation. They are the dream makers or dream killers. They are the people at the heart of the decision-making process who research and analyze data, prepare and submit reports and surveys that arc used by the decision makers. They may report to the elected officials and are required to follow whatever rules and regulations are dictated to them, but the interpretation and implementation of those rules are the reality of government. They are the true builders of tomorrow.

Let 's hope they do a good job because Po' Charlotte won't be poor long.

George Mindling © 2003

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