So Tired Of The Doom & Gloom!!

Misty Ridge Gazette

Staff Writer – Scott W. Schneider

10/30/02

        I don’t know how you feel, but I am so sick and tired of hearing about the “ Doom & Gloom “ forecast for Venango County’s future, that I could puke all over the very first politician’s shoes that I see. 

If you’ve read The Derrick’s recent article titled “ Expert: Area Economy In Crisis “, which we’ve posted below ( thank you Mr. Patrick Boyle + The Derrick ), you’ll see the county has spent another $95,000 fortune on hiring a consultant who is now telling us all about things we already should know.  As far as I’m concerned, a consultant is nothing more than a person who asks to borrow your watch…and then has the gall to send you an invoice for telling you what time it is! 

Although Mr. Brian Bosworth is undoubtedly an intelligent man,…certainly smart enough to have talked himself into a lucrative contract with a failing group of counties, I’m not personally convinced that we really need “ an outsider “ to tell us where our strengths & weaknesses lie.  Yes, the recommendations he’s made make sense, in a perfect world, however, they all require lots of money…money that the counties do not have at this time.  So, let’s get to the “ root cause “, and let’s all get down to some productive business!!  Mark my words, you will either adapt or you will become extinct…this is your personal choice!!

Let’s start with the understanding that things have changed and the fact that Oil City, and its surrounding area, will never again be the “ oil industry “ powerhouse that it once was.  From here on out, as we move into the 21st Century, the only thing “ Oil “ about Oil City will be its name.  This is OK with me…if I wanted to live in a polluted oil field, I would have moved to Houston or Dallas…not Kennerdell! 

We must all begin to accentuate the positive: What we do have are abundant, renewable natural resources, vast, reasonably priced forest lands, and more clean, flowing water snaking its way through our homeland, everyday, than Houston or Dallas has seen in the past century.  People want this!  We also have an excellent work-force, which has proven time and again that it’s capable of getting the job done…given an opportunity!  Businesses need this! 

It’s plainly obvious that we have plenty of good things happening in Cranberry Township, Venango County’s New Powerhouse…like it or not!  And, from what I understand there are many more substantial projects “ on deck “.  I really don’t think it’s the politicians who can take credit for this positive growth, although I do believe that Mary Jo White, Scott Hutchinson, John Peterson, Robert Murray, Dick Castonguay and many other key local elected officials are doing an admirable job to promote the region.  What you’re seeing occur in Cranberry Township is the direct result of major investments, made by major corporations, who have based their decisions to invest upon our region’s forecast future demographics,…which their managers are paid “ big bucks “ to predict.

These major corporations are aware that we have an aging population…not just here in Venango County…but nation-wide.  They are aware that the single largest sector of the population, “ The Baby Boomers “, are either turning gray or going bald.  They are also aware that the larger cities across the United States are absolutely full of these baby boomers who’ve worked their years under stresses and strife, which, although not unique to urban life, is certainly more “ the norm “.  They are aware that within the next 10 years, these “ city folk “ will retire and will evacuate these large cities like rats jumping off of a ship, for a better, slower way of life.  And guess what,…the Wal-Marts, the UPMC’s and the Staples’ have predicted that they’re relocating to Venango County and that they’ll be bringing their money with them!

These corporations are counting on the fact that these “ newcomer - implants “ will build their houses, apartments and condominiums, which will create jobs along with numerous opportunities for exploitation by the next generation, while at the same time, solidifying the long-term tax base which our “ needy “ counties so desperately require.  I predict there will be a dramatic reversal in Venango County’s current trend of “ population loss “ which has been highlighted as being “ most troublesome “ in the recent census figures.

If we are truly serious about insuring our region’s future success, we each need to be ambassadors to our region and do our collective part by letting The Clevelanders, The Youngstowners and The Pittsburghers of the world know who we are and where we are. 

Don’t allow the tail to wag your dog and PLEASE stop the “ Doom & Gloom “…it’s counter-productive.  Although there are very few guarantees in life, I can guarantee that you will never meet a wealthy or successful pessimist.  People will come & people will go…right now some are going, but my bet is that they’ll be back.

Photo by Jerry Sowden
Giant pan-scrapers and bulldozers move dirt Monday between Route 257 and Salina Road in Cranberry Township to make way for a new entrance road off Route 257 for the new UPMC Northwest hospital under construction.