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Thinking so that 'us' and 'them' don't exist

Oct. 6, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Marshall is a busy place. If anyone were to describe this as a "sleepy town" it would be completely at odds with the facts.

The casual observer looking from the outside might not be able to grasp how much is happening here. They might look at the lack of population growth over well, decades, and decide that Marshall was stagnant. We admit being biased in this regard, but we just don't believe that for a minute.

But it does lead one to wonder, with all that is going on, just why Marshall isn't growing quite as might be expected. Truth be told, we aren't looking for a "boomtown" and all the assorted problems that come with it, but it is just odd that the population numbers have stayed so close to even for so many years. The last census actually saw a tiny drop in the estimated population.

So what gives?

Obviously, this is not a question anyone can answer with great surety and likely there is no one reason. But if you had to pick one, just what would it be?

Our choice would be a lack of people working together toward a common goal and, in fact, a perceived competition between different goals.

A city such as Marshall can surely have, should have, more than one goal at once. We should probably be working on half-dozen or a dozen goals at once. There is enough mental firepower, ability and love of community to accomplish goals on several fronts simultaneously.

Not everyone seems to agree with that assessment. A few seem to believe if the city cannot build both its tourism and downtown efforts at the same time it is stressing strengthening and growing the city's industrial base.

Yes it can and it should. We want the tourism efforts to proceed unabated and are complete supporters of all that has gone on downtown, but that is just a piece of the puzzle. There is all kinds of development Marshall could use and by no means would all of that be downtown, or in one of the industrial parks for that matter.

However, growth or attempts to grow in one area can draw a jealous reaction from another area, as if there is a rivalry and growth of one threatens the growth of another. This is a silly reaction, but it is not necessarily surprising and we see it as growing pains. Everyone wants to make sure they are getting their piece of the pie.

We get that, but the real answer is not to take someone else's piece, but to make the pie much bigger. That way, everyone gets more. We don't get a bigger pie unless we work more closely to do just that.

It would be nice to believe in the new year a better spirit of cooperation between the various interests. This is not a matter of "us" and "them," it's all just us.



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