Retirees fill many of the homes and are a blessing to our community. It’s hard to face the changes that result from an aging community but it happens whether we are ready or not.
To fill these homes when we are gone we need jobs and opportunity for our children and grandchildren. We need to do the hard work of planning for growth so we still have the rural values and views we love while creating the economic development necessary to prosper and thrive.
Opportunity is knocking at our door with HiTest Sands smelter in Usk. The board of county commissioners has answered by engaging a professional to help with the process. And that is exactly what it is. We are in the process to see how this new manufacturer will fit into our community. It is an exciting prospect to see more living-wage jobs for families. We will learn a lot from this experience, which will help us as we look toward planning for economic development.
Through our planning commission, we can work directly with the community and look for areas where zoning can be changed for additional commercial development. When we have worked through the Hi-Test Sands project and rezoning, we can look at Highway 2 and the possibilities there.
None of this can be purely commissioner-driven, I ask you to think about the future of this county. Think about what we need to maintain the roads that exist and provide public safety with an adequately funded sheriff and court. Think about our young families and how difficult it is to find a job that pays well in Pend Oreille County. If we can work through the difficult task of adjusting to growth and inviting growth as a community, we can have a more prosperous future.