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What About Downtown?
Forest Lake does have a downtown.
It’s not at Headwaters, Northland Mall, Broadway and 35, or the Highway 61 strip south of town.
It does overlook the lake, city park, boat landing and municipal lot. Millions have been spent to improve these areas because the lake is our greatest asset.
However, the downtown long ago lost its charm and apparently has been left behind by the city. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find any city with this locale and amenities abandoning their downtown and spending $24 million on a city complex which will raise taxes approximately 23 percent.
Properties between Broadway and Second Avenue are the oldest buildings in town; some approaching 100 years.
There are five empty buildings, six empty storefronts, eight properties for sale, and a bar, adult novelty store and pawn shop all within view of city hall! It does not look “As good as it sounds,” whatever that slogan means.
Seventy-five thousand dollars has been set aside for property owners to borrow to fix up their storefronts. What? I appreciate the thought, but the last thing I need is another payment on my old building. Take those funds and look for developers for senior housing, professional or retail.
Council has said that the downtown looks really run-down and there is a need for senior housing, preferably downtown. Why build a monument at Northland Mall when the downtown is crying out for redevelopment? You might as well build a mausoleum because a spot should be dedicated for the memory of downtown Forest Lake.
Dwayne G. Fladland
Now that the elections are over, and we have been reminded of the nation’s fiscal problems, we have been told that we can remedy them through taxes or borrowing. I believe there is an alternate way, through savings.
There is a lack of good returns on investments. This creates worried citizens.
During WWII this country raised taxes to pay for the tools of war, but funds were also raised through savings bonds. People were appealed to through the public pressure of patriotism. As I understand it, more than half of the money needed by the federal government was raised in this manner.
The problem today is the interest rates on the savings bond is not high enough.
What if the rates were raised several points above the other investments? This would be a little more expensive way to pay down the national debt, but it may well offset Social Security raises in the future. Besides, how much longer are we going to be able to finance our debt by selling it to the Chinese?
Sales would be handled by the Post Office, creating more business for them through increased traffic.
Although payroll deductions would be a good way to get the middle class to participate in this plan, I think that the top 5 percent would find this plan preferable to higher taxes.
I would also like to see them labeled, such as Retirement Bond or College Bond. However, the title that appeals most to me is the melodious ‘Tom’s Bond.’