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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Study fails to reveal new or useful ideas

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

"But a good plan is always a premiere starting point - on that issue we can agree."

I just love it when learned people gather around a table to solve the problems of people they neither know nor understand. Yet after years of community involvement, I recognize this is indeed the way our society functions. Usually - but not always - people with resources discuss the plight of those without resources as if they had a clue on the real day-to-day issues and problems facing others within the population. But I digress.

A new study was released this week that centered on the impact of growth within Missouri. Now I don't pretend to know all that was involved in this study but I do know the simplistic conclusion. The study found that urban areas were in disrepair because of the out-migration of residents to the suburbs and rural areas. Well slap me silly. I wish I'd thought of that!

The report urges more "planning" by communities when they address the issues of growth and population changes. I'm a little fuzzy on what this "planning" would involve. But a good plan is always a premiere starting point - on that issue we can agree.

The report outlines the financial impact on suburban areas when they must build roads and schools and provide services to an explosion of new residents. It also addresses the decline of the urban core when those populations flee to the 'burbs. What's amazing is that the report authors sound as if this is a new conclusion and a new problem that has surfaced overnight. Have they not been charting population trends for the past three decades or so?

Here's the bottom line. People flee inner city cores because of the crime and deterioration of their neighborhoods. They flee to greener pastures where their children are safe, the schools are better and the quality of life is substantially improved. Only a lack of available financial resources keeps residents "locked" into the city cores. Now that's the fact, like it or not.

Planning for growth is essential in everyone's book. On that point there is no disagreement. But studies that tell us what we already should have known are useless and expensive wastes of time.

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