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To slow-kill a community

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October 4, 2018
By Troy Harris , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Once a hamlet of beauty, Tama-Toledo is quiet now with worn, tired storefronts of tattered buildings and countless signs of decay. One can quickly sense the death-like smell, pungent from decades of economic decline to its current impoverished state. But who cares...they roll up the streets at 5:00 PM. Folks either are off to Marshalltown for amusement or are nestled in for the night. But for the record, this did not happen overnight nor was it an accident.

Over a period of a century we witnessed the slow death of a community. With the dismissal of Leander Clark College in 1918, brought the first real blow. Its replacement, the Iowa State Juvenile Home (now closed) waned pale in attracting the same quality of education base in its day.

As decades passed we saw the elimination of rail service, manufacturers, reduction in retail stores, and closure (merger) of churches, schools, funeral homes and a former motel that is an eye sore to the community. Store fronts were not maintained and now are empty and desolate. People started shopping outside our community for what they needed.

As of late we have witnessed a planned manipulated and under-handed closure of a community building, forcing s some seniors to travel much further for a hot meal and kicking businesses out in the name of economic development. What a shameful joke. We have also seen our water bills go out of the roof, with the explanation of paying for a new water/sewer plant. I got news for you, folks. Water bills will not come down, after the treatment plant is paid for.It is only a fast tax grab by our city. I also got more news. Though I value the fine arts, a new renovated theater will not add one iota to our downtown. The storefronts will continue to be in ill repair and the downtown will still be dead on arrival. A compromised rehabilitation of the community building as an events center would have been a better use of resources and healing for the community at large. Many small towns would love to have such an enriching resource and being landlocked is not justification to a bullied agenda. A community wide vote would have been more appropriate.

No folks, these is all symptoms to a larger problem or problems. We have a community whose leaders are unwilling to improve or even save our town. Forget about attracting new prospective businesses with economic development. Money was never spent to maintain these structures. Also current local business are afraid to make waves as the status quo is acceptable. People are too drugged out on political correctness and apathy. In the meantime our local governments are being monopolized by a select few who care less what the people want or need. This tyranny is seen in our water bills and our impoverished community, as agendas and quiet permanent taxes are forced against the public's will.

Perhaps the status quo is acceptable for an apathetic sold out people but I find it unacceptable. What happened to respect for others by truly listening to your voter base, or pride to make your community a better place? The decision to raze the community building would never have passed, had it been left up to the taxpaying voter base. Razing is only another nail in the coffin.

A trusted friend once said how Tama-Toledo is nothing more than a mere bedroom community for Marshalltown. I am afraid he was right. Rolling up the streets at 5:00 PM and closing community structures is not the answer...unless of course you want to slow kill a community.

-Troy Harris

Taxpayer of Toledo



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