This past week, I asked readers to comment on the development of cabins at Marion County Lake. We heard from three mindsets. Some think the cabins are a good idea and support the project. Others do not like the idea of private development on public land. And then there are those who don’t want anything to be developed at the lake. Ever. Period. End of conversation.
Irresponsible development is worse than no development but no development can kill this county.
We have to face facts. Marion County is not going to attract a large manufacturer such as a Boeing or a Cobalt. It’s just not going to happen. But what we do have to offer is just as important.
We could be the best location for seminars, retreats, family reunions, and other functions that could attract those CEOs from Boeing and Cobalt. This county has two incredible recreational facilities. There are communities and businesses open and ready to accommodate wedding receptions, regional meetings, and the like.
Cabins at the lake would enhance efforts by other communities to attract business professionals and families to our area.
Communities and the county have done one thing really well — promoting special events. Those events are vital to our communities and have resulted in visitors moving to a community — some bringing businesses with them.
But we’re missing an opportunity to promote our area year-round.
People from Wichita, Kansas City, and everywhere in-between are looking for weekend getaways all year, not just in the summer. Think of Branson and Eureka Springs. Those cities have capitalized on tourism. I realize we can’t be — and don’t want to be — another Branson but being similar to Eureka Springs wouldn’t be bad.
Among the things different from us, Eureka Springs has mineral springs. But we have recreational lakes that are just as much of a calling card as springs, if not more.
We need to capitalize on the visitors who come to our lakes and special events. We need to find more reasons for people to come to Marion County. Tourism brings an industry with it — retail and industrial. Tourism can be an important part of economic development that can provide jobs and increased property tax and sales tax revenue.
So, what are we going to do? Sit around and complain? We’ve been doing that and it’s not working.
One suggestion from a reader has been one that I have talked about for a long time — planning for the future.
Our elected officials could use assistance. We need to provide our input. Without a vision, we’re just reacting.
— susan berg