Do you want to save this town? I mean, really? Or do you just want to use Onamia to put a few bucks in your pocket before you move on? Like a tornado, leaving death and destruction in your wake... Do you actually care about the town, or do you only care about yourself IN THE MOMENT? Because, I can tell you upfront - sex offenders and industrial parks - DUMB IDEAS, that is, if you want to SAVE the town of Onamia. Great ideas if you want to kill the town.
I've been digging around in this unholy muck for four months. And I can't believe some of the stupidity I've witnessed. First of all, people are looking for quick fixes without having long term goals, long range plans. Its the old Tortoise and the Hare story. Changes have to be made, yes. The biggest change must be in WHO is making the changes. Right now the men controlling what happens in this town are self-serving, greedy and short-sighted with junior high mentality. Do you think they have YOUR best interest at heart? Do you think they are doing what's best for Onamia?
Here is one Universal Truth that I hope you'll pull your heads out of your asses so that you can listen and try to understand. Are you ready? Repeat after me:
NO NORMAL, SANE PERSON WANTS TO LIVE WITH SEX OFFENDERS!
So, if you have a sex offender institution as a focal point in your small town, you are not going to attract the kind of people that makes a town stable and safe and prosperous. Think about it. No normal, sane person will want to move into an area where their kids will be going to school with sex offenders. PERIOD! Why do you think so many GOOD people have moved away since Nexus arrived in Onamia? I've seen it. Nexus was the beginning of the end then and now. No normal, sane person wants to live with sex offenders.
Let's talk about the school for a minute... Why do you think that Onamia's best and brightest are opting to go to school out of the city? Why go to Milaca or Pierz? Onamia doesn't have a Gifted Program in the highschool. They have SEX OFFENDERS. And of course, since the Mille Lacs Academy also has a program for individuals with low IQs, there you go: the school caters to the bottom of the students' abilities. Not the top. If you want to improve the school, get rid of the SEX OFFENDERS. Invest in the cream floating on top - before it evaporates. You are investing in the Paul Knutsons, the Dustin Hoiums, the Larry Blacks... Let somebody else deal with them - if you love Onamia. And if you want to really improve the school, get a school superintendent who has some committment to QUALITY instead of quantity; one who cares about education more than about money. Its pretty basic, people.
Industry in Onamia? Bad idea. Why? Because you aren't using the specialness that the town has to offer. You are robbing Onamia of it's uniqueness. You want industrial park? Head to Milaca with Heggie's. You want to save the town of Onamia? If you haven't got your heads out of your asses yet, do it now. Repeat after me: AN INDUSTRIAL PARK WILL KILL THE TOWN!
This town isn't set up to "grow". There's no place to grow into. At least that is what I've been hearing. Its a matter of geography and geology. You can't grow east - swamp.... You can't grow north - swamp. You can't grow south - swamp. AND you can't grow west - swamp. WE LIVE IN A SWAMP, PEOPLE! fer chrissake!
So, if physical growth is limited, how do you save the town? Simple. You take your assets and you IMPROVE upon what already exists!
What does Onamia have that other small towns don't have? (I mean, besides a hundred sex offenders...) How about the HOSPITAL? How about ASSISTED LIVING? How about fishing ? recreation? How about Lake Onamia? How about the Rum River? Kathio State Park? the Soo Line Trail? How about its just a few miles to Lake Mille Lacs? And how about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION?
Its 40 minutes to Brainerd. 40 minutes to Little Falls. An hour to St. Cloud. And about 90 miles to the Twin Cities. I have worked and commuted in each of these cities. I have shopped in each of these cities. Onamia is CENTRALLY LOCATED. But who wants to come to Onamia the way it is now? Even most of the MLA employees know better than to live here.
You have been trying to attract people from these cities to come and work in Onamia, i.e. sex offender facility and upcoming industrial park. You're trying to get them to move here for those jobs. You're building cheap housing for them? Well, folks, if that's what you're thinking, you HAVE IT BACKWARDS! What will save the town is to improve the living conditions here so that people will want to live and work here. You need to have GOOD people in NICE neighborhoods who possibly commute to OTHER PLACES for jobs, but come HOME TO SPEND THEIR MONEY!
NO NORMAL, SANE PERSON WANTS TO LIVE WITH SEX OFFENDERS!
Don't think we need more cheap housing. That's stupid. There are already so many places for sale in the area that aren't getting sold. I wish somebody would buy Mark Loch's house so he'd leave town... And Centennial Estates is a joke. Whose idea was that anyway? Mr. Shit-For-Brains, the man of many hats... Wasted such a nice lot right across from the lake. Geez. Ugly, ugly, ugly. If you allow these people (the Onamia City Council, who ARE the current planners) to continue with their ill-conceived... conceptions... you might as well FORGET ABOUT IT!
GET RID OF THE CURRENT CITY LEADERS. They suck.
Do you know what you need to save the town? You need to make it livable. The town needs to be self-contained. That means you need TWO GOOD grocery stores. TWO. Not one poor excuse of a grocery store with rip-off prices and limited selections. And if you can't get two, at least have one good one where prices are reasonable and the quality is decent. I've shopped there for all of these years because of convenience, but since I got mad at the town and shop in Brainerd or St. Cloud, even with the price of gas (which we no longer buy in town either) we SAVE A LOT OF MONEY by shopping out of town.
That's ass backwards. You need to make Onamia the place to shop for all of your family's needs. You need to make the town self-sufficient. And you need friendly service with a smile. (sigh)
You need a LUMBER YARD where you can get quality building supplies. Hardware that isn't outrageously over-priced. A gas station/garage. A feed and farm store. A DENTIST! A variety store with some affordable clothing... A competent pharmacy that doesn't short you on pills or try to poison you with their mistakes.
Aw Geez... When you build your Wal*Mart, will ya please put it on the Crosier property next to the ridiculous supper club (which we DON'T need. Right. More liquor. Keep 'em drunk. Doesn't Officer Bob have enough to keep him busy? Whose dumb idea was that?) Another eating establishment.... I noticed the other day that Scooter's didn't make it and has closed. Is Pizza Plus still operating? So does it make sense to build a supper club in Onamia? It will probably do okay at first while curious locals take a look-see, but I predict it will end up closing like that one just north of town did.... What was it's name again? Then there will be another vacant building to verify: yep, that supper club was a stupid idea....
So.... look at where the town is going. Is that what you want? Drunks and sex offenders? Kids with learning problems, drug problems... meth labs... High prices... Poor quality... Limited products... Ugly, cheap housing for unskilled laborers... You know something? That's what you're getting. That's what you've got. And perhaps, that's what you deserve.
AND YOU WONDER WHY THE TOWN IS DYING????
Go ahead and continue the way you're going.
Yeah... Build the industrial park. Stick in another trailer park or two while you're at it. Cram in as many bars as is legally possible. Why not move the business away from the highway so that nobody can find them? Spend your money on the sex offenders and ignore the bright, promising students in the town. Give Nexus tax abatement so that YOUR taxes will go up and the town will lose the benefit of their tax money. REEEEEEAL SMART, people.
Make sure you ignore the fact that a lot of nice, well-to-do retirement aged folks from the cities would love to live in a charming little town with good health care, a hospital, and close to good fishing. These good people would be good for the community - they're the generous kind that volunteer to help out their neighborhoods..... but they don't want to live with sex offenders. No normal, sane DECENT person does.
But if these retirement-aged good people DID move into the community, they would need people to cater to their needs and desires - i.e. medical and recreational, etc. And that means (drum roll) JOBS. And without the sex offenders to keep people away, THEN GOOD, DECENT NORMAL, SANE PEOPLE would want to live here. The younger crowd would move here for those new jobs, bringing their families to shop in Onamia's good stores (Service with a SMILE), and enroll their bright children in Onamia's superior school....
Need time to think about it?
You don't have it.
If you don't do something RIGHT NOW to stop the building of this horrendously HUGE footprint that Nexus is imposing on Onamia, it will be too late.
Once this is built, it cannot be unbuilt.
Stopping it now will buy the town some time to get it together. This act of desperation - keeping the sex offenders here - is a GIANT MISTAKE. But if you don't stop them, nobody will. It will take more than our little neighborhood over here in Bradbury Township to save your town. It will take YOU and the people of Onamia. Get your heads out of your asses now! (I'm sorry if that offends you.... but you HAVE to get going if you want to save this town!)
GET RID OF THE SEX OFFENDERS.
GET RID OF THE INCOMPETENT LEADERSHIP.
MAKE ONAMIA A PLACE WHERE NORMAL,
SANE PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE.
Meanwhile.... I'm still looking at the real estate classifieds........ I don't want to live with sex offenders. Does that mean I'm normal and sane? Cool.