Growth hurts - it's time to speak out.
Small close-knit communities foster a sense of security and wellbeing. That is why they are so popular. It is comforting to recognize people you pass on the street. The same goes for local members of law enforcement or what used to be called the local police force - officers of the peace. Seeing a local policeman, especially if you knew his name gave one a feeling of safety only being a "local" could understand. As the community grows, relationships with other townsfolk become more distant and less personal. I guess this is the major downside to the ever important growth community leaders are always encouraging. The almighty dollar is the real reason growth is so important but unfortunately the community as a whole does not benefit from growth as much as our leaders sometimes do themselves.
As relationships between private individuals become more distant, it is interesting to note that the relationships between those that primarily benefit from growth, big business and government, become closer and more interlaced. Before you realize what is happening, community has been replaced by a "them and us" mentality, all the time trying to find new funding streams to support growth at the expense of the citizen and community spirit.
Back to local law enforcement. Cleveland and Bradley County still enjoy truly local police agencies. It is still possible to personally relate to our local peace officers. We tend to like it that way and it builds a safer community for all concerned; public and police. But as an example of change, remote policing provided by surveillance cameras does nothing to enhance this relationship, so what we are witnessing slowly eroding the community bond is I believe a distant product of uncontrolled growth. To prove that many times growth is the opposite to the panacea it is touted to be, consider what is happening to our once close-knit community. Them and us infighting is breaking out all over town. We are fighting over an airport, school funding, the proceeds from sale of Bradley Memorial Hospital, the revitalization of downtown Cleveland, election procedures, court control, fire departments, jail and police funding and a hundred other who-gets-what issues. The uncontrolled growth of our community is tearing the community spirit from our grasp and we are passively letting it happen. It doesn't have to be like that. As a community we should all pull together, what is good for one should be good for all.
There are those in our community so committed to rampant growth that they have become blinded by its rewards and oblivious to the damage being done. Quality of life is