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Don't Let Naysayers Retard Iowa's Agenda

Tim Baker

Des Moines Register

December 27, 2005

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

My wife and I are born-and-raised Iowans. While still considered young by some standards, we have two children in middle and elementary school. We have had many opportunities to leave Iowa, some as recently as this fall, but we have resisted them, instead choosing to remain here to raise our children close to family and friends.

I am growing tired of all the naysayers to every project that is proposed in Iowa, Des Moines in particular. In the past few years, I have been involved in many construction projects in town the Great Ape Trust, Jordan Creek Mall, the Iowa Events Center, the Science Center of Iowa. Every one of these projects was resisted by a large segment of the population.

I have heard them all: "Studying apes in Iowa, that's stupid," "we don't need another mall, we have Merle Hay Mall," "we don't need a new arena, we have Vets," "the current Science Center is fine." While all of these projects have come at a cost, they have or will greatly enhance living here.

Now we are hearing the same negative comments about the Iowa Environmental Project. Whenever anyone with any vision steps forward with a new idea, they are resoundingly criticized. This is in no way an endorsement of the project, but the educational benefits and the development may make it a great attraction for Iowa.

While living in Iowa offers many benefits, we are near the bottom in economic development, job growth, new business start-up and population growth. Is it any wonder young people leave Iowa for more exciting places everyday? We're losing population to Minnesota, so it's more than just the weather.

There is nothing wrong with being content, but what about Iowans gives us the attitude that what we have is good enough? Why are we so resistant to change or anything new? What if the Mall of America, Walt Disney World, the Sears Tower or the Kansas Speedway had been proposed for Des Moines? Would any of these attractions been completed?

Tim Baker