Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Proposed Hotel for Kanner Lake

Greetings from Jared Moore--in my first post for 2007.

Here in Kanner Lake we suddenly find ourselves facing some controversy. No, I'm not talking about the murder of Edna San last July, and all the repercussions of that crime, which still have to play out. I'm talking about the age-old argument between those who want to keep the environment as unfettered as possible and those who see new building as a form of needed progress.

Now as a reporter and the owner of Kanner Lake Times, I'm not going to take sides in the argument. My job is to report both sides and leave the reader to make his/her own decision in the matter. So here are the basic facts:

An outside developer has proposed building a hotel next to the city beach. This beach is one block south of Main Street--the downtown area that houses Java Joint, the KL Times office and many other shops and businesses. Right now on the site is merely shoreline. It gets a little rocky in that area, so it's not beach property.

The "pro-hotel" folk see this as a wonderful opportunity for the town, especially the business owners on Main. Right now we have no big hotel in town. We do have scattered B&Bs around town and the lake, but our tourist numbers are rising, and the B&Bs are often maxed out. This argument is founded on the "If we built it, they will come" mentality. The pro-hotel people cite the increase in tax revenues for the town through the hotel alone, not to mention all the more sales that will occur on Main Street as a result of the increase in foot traffic from the hotel. With those tax dollars we can do more to support our schools, mend our roads, etc. Most of the shop owners on Main whom I've spoken with are in support of the hotel.

The "anti" folks cite the environment, extra traffic considerations, more noise, and the obvious loss of some scenic shoreline so close to town. They counter the "more tax dollars" argument with "yes, but do you want more money at the expense of natural beauty and quiet in our town, which is exactly why tourists come here in the first place?" So many scenic small towns are suddenly "discovered," they argue--and look what happens to them. Building everywhere--until the scenery that first attracted everyone is all but eaten away. What sad irony.

Studies are being done to determine more exactly the environmental impact of the proposed hotel, and the tax revenues such a business could bring the town. People on both sides of the argument will be addressing the city council, who ultimately will have to make this decision. I have no idea how this will play out, but it already seems to be heating up as a major point of contention between people in the town. Everywhere I go folks are arguing about it--Java Joint included. Seems 2007 is going to be an interesting year.

I'm aware you readers across the country can't understand all the issues as we in Kanner Lake can--but what would be your general opinion to this type of change in a small town?

-- Jared Moore

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
Jared, my concern would be motivation. Or, to be frank, just how greedy are the folks of Kanner Lake. No intent to be offensive here, BUT, what would be the overall benefit to the hotel? More profits? More than likely. So I ask, does Kanner Lake NEED the money? Is the Kanner Lake community struggling? Will this build more parks or just line merchant pockets? And will the loss of your "cozy" atmosphere be worth the extra padding?
Posted by Blogger Dineen A. Miller : 1:20 PM
Well, yes, a lot of the downtown merchants are struggling to remain open. We see many businesses come and go every few years. Not good for the merchants or the town. A hotel near the downtown area could really change that. And the town could really use the extra tax dollars for the good of all the citizens. I don't think the hotel will hurt the cozy feel of the town. Tourists come and go now, but we remain who we are.
Posted by Anonymous B.W. (shop owner) : 2:11 PM
Hey, more tourists=more people to fall in love with the town=more home buyers. Bring on the hotel.
Posted by Blogger Carla Radling : 2:13 PM
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