Today, as I reflect on the future of Mineral County and the prospects of our future economic prosperity, I look back at a time when I was active in Downtown Revitalization. Looking out of my store window seeing our Highway 95 corridor inviting travelers to spend time in Hawthorne and not use the truck route by-pass. The three lane highway, the bicycles using the bike lanes, folks using the center turn lane, and vehicles parked under the shade of the trees that line both sides of the street, I reflect back on all of the work that we did to accomplish this goal. Oh wait! We did not accomplish this goal, even though we had the approval of NDOT to accomplish this goal when they re-did the highway several years ago; but a few folks in our community, stopped it from happening.
Currently, our community is facing another opportunity, which can bring economic prosperity to our community or devastation, depending on what happens. The I-11 corridor can bring forth a wealth of opportunities for the community of Mineral County, as long as we all work together to accomplish this goal. There are three major local components that is the foundation of making this opportunity become a reality, if we are all willing to stand united. First off is our local planning committee and local government officials. Second the Independent-News along with social media. Third and perhaps the most important element is the Mineral County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA). For there are two phases, not just one phase that are required to make the I-11 corridor a prosperous opportunity for the community of Mineral County.
The first phase is ensuring that the I-11 corridor goes through Mineral County. The second phase is equally, if not more important than the first phase, which is to make Mineral County the destination for travelers, that are traveling down the I-11 corridor. Otherwise, the I-11 corridor will be nothing more than our local truck by-pass on steroids a 100 times more devastating than our current truck by-pass. We all know, if we are travelling down the freeway, driving past small communities along the way to get from point A to point B, the only reason we ever leave the freeway is for a pit stop to fuel up, get something to eat, use the restroom or possibility spend the night when we are too tired to drive any further. This does not help to develop local economies, unless the business is located right on the freeway, most folks cannot just pickup their businesses and move to these freeway exits.
This is why the MCEDA is a vital asset and resource heading into these upcoming years as we prepare to benefit from the I-11 corridor. But recently, I heard that the funding for the MCEDA might end this July, if this is true and it does happen, the Mineral County community will have been basically sucker punched in the gut, when we truly need all of our resources at our disposal to ensure our economic growth and prosperity.
Now is the time for the Mineral County community to work together not only to ensure that the I-11 corridor does travel through Mineral County but also to make Mineral County the destination for travelers on the I-11 corridor. Whether it is bringing in additional businesses to Mineral County or creating vista points where travelers can stop and safely view the wild mustangs, big horn sheep and other wildlife in Mineral County that we are so fortunate to have here.
In closing, I would like to say it is absolutely mind boggling the opportunities that exist here in Mineral County, but due to one reason or another, the Mineral County community is struggling to survive. Instead of seeing our inviting tree lined streets outside my store window, I see the large number of people that come to our community’s food bank each month. Opportunities do exist here in Mineral County, we don’t just have to rely on the base or mining to achieve economic prosperity, there are assets and resources available here in Mineral County, if we all just work together to develop them!
M J Dykxhoorn