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Saturday, July 4, 2015
The Leading EdgePosted Tuesday, November 20, 2007, at 7:29 AM
Have you seen the movie "Dances With Wolves"? The main character John Dunbar (Dances With Wolves), is asked by the indians "how many" white's are coming, and his response was "Like the stars".
We think the "Boomers" are coming this time, and they may change your way of life.
A couple weeks ago, we saw on the news that the first "official" baby boomer (The first person born after midnight January 1, 1946) has applied for Social Security. One heck of a lot of boomers live in cities, and many of those city folk are just like us...they want to live someplace where the pace of life is slower than the high pressure lives they are accustomed to in the cities.
Now we're not clairvoyant, fortune tellers, or in any way prognosticators of the future, but I believe we are on the leading edge of another era of population migration. We've read a lot about the outward migration of rural America, but in some parts of the country, the outward migration has ceased, and rural population growth is outpacing local communities abilities to provide necessary services.
One good part of this migration for rural America I think is that most of these folks bring with them financial resources, and are not looking for work in most cases. Many will come with the idea of starting a home based business, and with the Internet, satellite and cellular communications, and "to your door" package delivery and pickup, a viable home based economy might just be possible.
Jobs will automatically follow to support these new residents, and with population growth comes construction of course. But there will be problems too. New residents may demand city services the cost of which will be passed on to all residents. You may be starting down this path already with sales tax revenues dedicated to economic development. Politics as usual for the area could be turned upside down, and crime and related law enforcement issues may follow. Expanded health care for an aging population will likely be needed too.
With quick growth comes quick problems. Communities can lose their identities with the influx of large numbers of people that may or may not share the same values as established area residents. Poor growth planning, or underestimating the speed of growth might lead to the loss of what you want your community to be. You can see where rural areas just 10 years ago along the front range of the Rockies in Colorado are now checkerboard housing developments with neighbors stacked on top of each other.
We hope we have the same set of values and desires for our new community as the long time residents. We picked this area because there seems to be limited development and growth. We've seen explosive growth in many places we've traveled, and the results are usually sprawl, sameness, and loss of community...all things we hope our new area communities in southwest Nebraska can find a way to avoid.
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