My husband and I took a walk this afternoon around our neighborhood, even though it was snowing. And sticking. Grrr. Walking and exercise is on my list for spring break, so around the block we went.
Our local elections are coming up in about two weeks. Quite a few of the yards in our neighborhood had signs for candidates. "Vote for so and so for Village President," and so on. Most local elections are not contentious here in the suburbs. Often there's no opposition and really low voter turnout. However, this time there is an issue and it has created an opposition slate to the current village president and trustees.
Some months ago the village board was seriously considering a proposal from a developer to turn the town golf course into a mixed use area. It would have a mix of shopping, offices, and living, like condos or townhouses. Our town doesn't have a real downtown or a "Main Street." The trustees were selling this as our new downtown and a way to make more profitable use of the space.
The problem is the village already tried to create a "downtown," by building a shopping mall. It's a shopping mall, not a downtown or a center of anything. It's not even a very successful shopping center. Some are wary of repeating this experience. Another problem is that our taxes would increase to pay for the development. And, possibly most important, the golf course acts as a flood plain for our area. If it's developed, where is all that water going to go?
The trustees were trying to paint a rosy picture of all the benefits of this plan, but they were soon accused of not being transparent, not addressing the issues, and not listening to the opposition which by that time had organized. Petitions were circulated, a Facebook page was set up, and now we have a slate of candidates running on this issue. The developer withdrew the proposal, without publicly giving a reason, but the controversy continues.
So as we walked around, there were the signs. Sometimes opposing candidate signs next door or right across the street from each other. There are plenty of houses with no signs, too. It will be interesting to see if more people come out to vote in this election than normally for local offices. Lots of vocal people doesn't necessarily mean that most voters care.
Interestingly, I haven't heard of any golfers weighing in on the possible destruction of the golf course.