Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rural Largesse? Hardly

A story in today's NYT tells of Ewing, Kentucky's recent tax windfall -- about $12K worth of funds diverted (legally!) from a county tax. A town of 300 in the Appalachian region of the state, Ewing is debating what to do with the money. The front-runner seems to be a new sewer system, but that would cost $6 million and would also require grants, and perhaps loans. Other contenders: sidewalks to the school, a police officer to slow the traffic that speeds through, and a park.

Apparently, Erik Eckholm, who wrote this story and who often covers rural issues for the Times, learned about happenings in Ewing after its mayor, Wally Thomas, wrote a post for the Daily Yonder. I like Eckholm's closing quote from Thomas, who apparently frequently drives out of town for work: "There's no better feeling than coming back to a small town like this to lay your head down at night." And that, in he end, is what saves many rural communities from total extinction -- the fact that even though they cannot support people economically (as with jobs) people (often including exurban/rural wannabe types) are willing to commute to live there.

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