Viewpoint: Walmart would help keep shopping dollars in Cottage GroveAt present a large amount of our shopping dollars are spent outside of our community. I would ask you to think about why the citizens of Cottage Grove and the surrounding communities should be forced to go outside our community, spending gas and time, when we can keep retail spending here at home.
By: Myron Bailey, South Washington County Bulletin
I remember as a child riding with my brother and sister in the back seat of my parents’ station wagon to watch a movie and play in the playground at the Cottage View Drive-In. It was exciting, as they still had a full playground area with some neat features that were unique at that time. I remember hearing the message — “Show will start in nine minutes” — and the countdown continued until they started flashing the lights in the playground and concession stand to let everyone know the movie was about to start. I will cherish these fond memories for the rest of my life.
As we all know, change is inevitable. I remember as a child walking to Cheapskate Roller Rink to meet my friends and having a great time skating together. As I became a teen, I remember going to the Majestic Ballroom to dance to the Rockin’ Hollywoods. As I miss these symbols of my earlier life I appreciate the new businesses that have come since, such as American Motorsports Bar and Grill, Kohl’s, Las Margarita’s, Ruby Tuesdays, Culver’s and others which replaced businesses or land uses that preceded each of them.
In our free market country we cannot demand that an owner of private property never consider opportunities that come to him. The owner of the Cottage View Drive-in has entered into a purchase agreement to sell a portion of his land to Walmart. I have heard from many on all sides of this issue — including desires not to allow the closure of the drive-in, to those both in favor of and against Walmart. The city has the obligation to the parties involved in this transaction to review the land use and zoning regulations, along with road system impacts. We are currently completing this process. Our city staff will make recommendations in this regard to the extent necessary. I am looking forward to this review as I believe that along with the proposal for a Walmart will be the future opportunity for significant advancements for our retail offerings as have long been desired by this community.
At present a large amount of our shopping dollars are spent outside of our community. I would ask you to think about why the citizens of Cottage Grove and the surrounding communities should be forced to go outside our community, spending gas and time, when we can keep retail spending here at home. I repeatedly hear how we need to bring one retailer or another to Cottage Grove so that we do not have to leave our community to gain goods and services. This proposed development will reduce the amount of shopping dollars that leave town. Coupled with more jobs, full and part time employment opportunities, increased tax base, and future business growth, that could be a big win for our community.
Drive-in owner Gerry Herringer and I want to make this final year of Cottage View a fun and memorable one. I encourage all of you to go visit the drive-in this summer and watch for a communitywide event later this summer. If you have ideas on what would make this summer special at the Cottage View Drive-In, please drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to vetting the proposal and working towards an increasingly healthy and vibrant business community.
Bailey is mayor of Cottage Grove.