Don’t turn our valley into ‘The First Worst Place’

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Bravo andamen to Bill Cox and his letter (Daily Inter Lake, October, 24, “County commissioners wrong again”).

That decisions of such import to the future of Kalispell and our fair valley are left in the hands of THREE people (one of them, ironically, charged with felony destruction of public property) is more than disturbing. Especially since it seems clear that their sole purpose in life and in their office is to expand the tax base, which of course, in turn, expands their own personal bottom line. And these decisions are being made with a total disregard to the effect it may have on the character and beauty of the area.

Kalispell has the potential to become a great deal more than just a pass-through to all the unnecessary chain restaurants and businesses that populate every other urban area in the country. Money should be invested in creating a “more pedestrian-friendly downtown,” as was stated by Mr. Cox, and to create an atmosphere that would attract new businesses and more people to those businesses.

Woodland Park is a potential gem but needs more to help it reach its fullest potential. The park is filthy. Revenue should be going toward hiring a full-time staff to hose down the sidewalks, rake the grass, care for the gardens, enhance the foliage around the pond, pick up litter, expand and upgrade the playground, maybe even bring in a snack bar.

Parks and a healthy city center are what make an area attractive to tourists and people who might consider living here. It is what makes a community a community by keeping people connected and, again, offering “food for the soul.”

From what I have observed, the people who support the commissioners are those who stand to make a killing selling their land out to commercial development. (Example; the rezoning of the corridor going into Whitefish.) Many other people shrug their shoulders and feel the kind of expansion going on in the valley is “inevitable.” Not if you don’t sell out to the highest bidder regardless of what they plan to do with your land.

Growth may be inevitable but there is intelligent growth that protects the integrity of the land and then there is what has happened in so many other communities and is happening here — the haphazard rubberstamping of buildings and developments with no thought to aesthetics, character and/or protection of everything that makes Montana the treasure that it is.

These commissioners — Holmquist, Mitchell and Krueger — are a cancer to Kalispell and the Flathead Valley. If you love urban sprawl, concrete, light pollution, traffic, congestion, buildings that block the view of our majestic mountains and pavement over the land that grows our food and destroys habitat for our wildlife and if you really hate open spaces, night skies, “purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain,” the thrill of migrating birds and the wildlife that populates our land, then by all means keep putting these people in a position to destroy everything we hold dear. It is apparent their goal is to turn “The Last Best Place” into “The First Worst Place” and we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.

Kathryn Berg is a resident of Bigfork.

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