Wednesday, February 21, 2024

We need to focus on people coming here, not getting them here

| June 23, 2006 12:00 AM

To the editor:

After visiting the "real world" for the last couple weeks, it was very nice to return here to Libby.

To see how nice it is here, all you have to do is go someplace else.

And I see that what is currently happening in Libby over the future of the downtown, and what we should do here is occurring in such the same way elsewhere.

I want to thank The Western News for its contrasting articles/letters in the Friday, June 16, issue. They expressed our situation in a nutshell.

On the other hand, there was the Writers on the Range article by George Sibley from Gunnison, Colo. He had lived there for years and believed more in a "Live and Let Live" philosophy versus what he called a "neatnik" town. And Gunnison has had to deal with growth issues, people moving there and retirement mansions. The same appears to be true for the future of Libby.

And right below there was the letter from Barbara Embry of Georgia, who has invested in downtown Libby. She apparently would like to see Libby "fancied up" like many other towns in America.

Don't get me wrong. I welcome these people coming to Libby as that is a large part of the economic future of Libby. It's happening everywhere else in western Montana. It just took a bit longer to get here.

But we here in Libby should consider just what kind of future we want here. Just what should Libby be? The Writers on the Range article applies greatly to Libby. Some here will want Libby to turn into a clone of other towns throughout the rural West, fancying ourselves up just as advised by some city urban planners elsewhere.

Others would kind of like to see some things fixed up, some amenities added such as parks or trails.

Some may call me against progress, and maybe so in some ways. I like Lincoln County for what we have here and the country surrounding us. It's beautiful. If that makes me myopic, then so be it. There are a lot of others just like me here in Lincoln County and we shall have to be dealt with.

I think maybe it's time to think about what to do concerning the people coming here, rather than keep trying to get them to come here. That will happen whatever we do.

Wayne Hirst