Saturday, April 23, 2011
Big talk around Rolla is that we are going to get a Starbucks! No one has confirmed it yet, though.I think the big churches in town (I mean the city, since we're just a few hunnert shy of 20,000 now) are going to pray on Easter Sunday for this rumor to turn into the truth. People, especially the newer, more modern types, tell me that if we can just get a Starbucks in here, we'll be seen by outsiders as being a more progressive town and that will bring in even more chain stores and restaurants.We've got an ATT store now. It's across the street from our still-new Walgreens. We've got a Jimmy Johns to compete with Subway and Quiznos.The best news of all is that we're getting a Kohl's! That's very modern. The city dads came up with a progressive scheme that will, for up to 23 years, turn all the city sales tax collected by Kohl's, plus most of the real estate tax, back over to Kohl's. This will pay Kohl's nearly $8 million to build in Rolla. Our modern leaders believe that if you can't attract a business any other way, just pay them tax money to come.We love our chains in Rolla.A long-time downtown clothing store is advertising a "quitting business" sale. Also, rumor is that another long-time locally owned busines is closing; no confirmation on that, but I don't think most modern Rolla people care. The big push among the modern "leaders" is to bring in a Target and an Olive Garden.I am not modern. I'm more concerned about all the crime that is reported, literally daily, on Page 1 of the Rolla Daily News.
My theory is that the growth of crime is feeding the commercial growth and the population growth.I think the Walgreens, ATT and Kohl's business development folks saw the steady growth in crime and the movement of gang members from Chicago and St. Louis to Rolla and decided the town had become a city and was ripe for new stores.I could be wrong, though.But whether crime leads a town to become a city or becoming a city results in a crime-infested town, the truth is: You've got to have crime. And we do. Lots of it.Rolla is becoming modern, urbanized and diversified, and that makes most folks happy. I'm thinking about selling my house and moving.