Tuesday, July 12, 2005
In the most recent issue of the Fort Wayne Reader, Michael Summers writes about the city's new focus on being more environmentally-friendly. The article is a bit dense at times, but it's worth a read.
Talking about the aesthetic amenities of a community may sound a little out of place next to bread-and-butter issues like an area’s economic development and job growth, but the look and feel of a community really do count, and sometimes, decisions are swayed by those kind of community assets. In some ways, it can be compared to the attention we received last winter from the Men’s Health article ranking Fort Wayne the dumbest city in the country. Yes, everyone knows Men’s Health is a glossy rag devoted to articles detailing the workout habits of b-list celebrities. Anyone can look at the criteria the magazine used to arrive at its findings and find some gaping holes (the number of Nobel prize winners living in the area? Come on! Then again, if those Nobel prize winners are so darn smart, why aren’t they taking advantage of area’s low cost-of-living?). In fact, anyone giving the article more than a cursory glance will find the whole thing ridiculous…
But still, it just looks and sounds bad. Having an environmentally friendly community with things like floral gardens and well-maintained parks works in somewhat the same way. It may have seem to have no direct connection with the economic feasibility of locating a business in Fort Wayne, but if you were faced with the choice of two similar communities, one with attainment of EPA ozone standards and one without, where would you locate your business? Would you choose the clean city, or the smog-shrouded hell hole full of stupid people? “Not all the time, and I won’t pretend otherwise,” Young says. “But sometimes, just a key site decision-maker’s feelings about a particular community can make or break you, or at least keep you in the mix long enough to prove that it’s the right business location.”