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Dick Palmer: Area obstructionists simply won't let go

Let's look at it this way, Duluth has an image problem, and it isn't going away. A group of activists want it that way. They are content to continue building roadblocks opposing every effort to change Duluth's direction, thus impeding potential g...

Let's look at it this way, Duluth has an image problem, and it isn't going away. A group of activists want it that way. They are content to continue building roadblocks opposing every effort to change Duluth's direction, thus impeding potential growth and stability.

The idea is to keep Duluth and the surrounding area solely dependent on government handouts without giving private enterprise a chance to develop new concepts, create new jobs and develop a diverse tax base that will ultimately help everyone, even those obstructionists who appear on the surface to know all the answers.

What's going on is frightening and yet, the general public doesn't seem to be getting the picture.

Let's see if I can paint a clearer view of all this without using invisible ink. Duluth today has a pretty narrow economic base to work on. We have a growing medical campus that draws people here from far and wide. Our educational campuses, especially UMD, are pretty well contained as far as growth potential is concerned without some serious public supported investments in land and housing.

With the medical and educational contributors as our major employers, what do we have left? Obviously, the tourist industry has grown due to government and private investment (re: hotels, motels, eating establishments, etc.) to support the government financed DECC. And then there is retail that has demonstrated, through private and government supported investment dollars, a stabilizing interest in this area. Naturally retail is dependent on people, and if we keep turning away good paying jobs and oppose a widening mix of things to see and do, stagnant development will only decrease people's interest. It doesn't take a Harvard economist to figure that out.

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Last week, I was advised that "most Duluthians don't want a golf course on Spirit Mountain" or so it was reported in the press. The survey of 402 people is far from conclusive and yet promoters of the survey are pounding their chests with glee. Such hogwash, in my judgment, is representative of a growing attitude that the entire area should be returned to its original habitat post haste. Of the 402 people who responded to the survey, conducted by the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, 37 percent either supported the Spirit Cove Golf Course or ignored the petition and 63 percent opposed it. It was an eight-question survey that Mayor Gary Doty contends was biased. The results shouldn't be trusted.

The bottom line suggests trouble for Duluth today and in the future. It's true a championship golf course isn't for everyone, but it will attract local as well as golfers from other parts of the area to play. This is a private enterprise investment, and the proceeds will obviously help stabilize the Spirit Mountain complex that needs revenue sources year around. It's a win-win situation for this area, and the benefits will not go just to Duluth but to area municipalities as well as support area restaurants, hotel/motel complexes, service stations and retail. The beauty of all this is obvious, these establishments employ people.

It's time now to cut out this foolishness and resolve this issue for the best interests of the entire area. The agin'ers continue to have a stranglehold on growth and investment. It serves only one purpose, that being to promote more government and less private enterprise stability. Whew!

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