Saturday, April 21, 2012

Skeptical of current conventional wisdom

Journalists are taught to be skeptical, so maybe that’s where I get it.

I am always skeptical of those Internet stories that Aunt Martha sends right after she watches Fox News for 12 hours.

And when a politician promises change, I am skeptical of that, too.

“If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” every new generation of reporters is told.

So, in the run-up to the Great Oil and Gas Boom in Tuscarawas, Carroll and Harrison counties, here’s what we’ve been told:

–The water’s going to be contaminated.

–The energy companies are only concerned with selling OUR natural resources to China.

–Trucks are going to run roughshod over the roads.

–Landlords are going to make a fortune by charging oil and gas workers exorbitant rents and therefore forcing our poorer renters into the streets.

–The energy boom will result in a home building boom.

–Hotels will be full all the time, leaving no rooms for tourists.

–Bars will be full of drunken oil and gas workers and cause mayhem in the streets late at night.

–Energy companies will be building many huge facilities to accommodate the energy extracted from the ground and will employ thousands.

I’m not sure what exactly the truth is, but I believe we’ll have to be patient, keep our options open and remember that we are in charge of our destiny.

Ultimately, I hope the oil and gas-drilling boom provides more opportunities for our young people. Already, Kent State-Tuscarawas is preparing curriculum tracks that might help graduates enter the field. And that might help keep some of our best and brightest here.

So, while I’m skeptical, I’m also hopeful for a period of prosperity, the likes of which we haven’t seen in awhile.

The Carroll County commissioners have contracted with Radius Hospitality Group of Canton to operate the Atwood Lake Resort and Conference Center, which has been closed for the last year and a half.

Radius operates the Holiday Inn in Canton and a number of other hotels or conference centers.

Radius says it plans to renovate the hotel, add an indoor water park and improve the golf course by relocating some holes.

The news story contained no financing information, but one can assume that we’re talking millions of dollars.

I will withhold offering an opinion until the financing details become available. If they don’t become available, then color me skeptical.

If the developer husband-wife team of Kathy Pietro and Bob Martinelli says it’s going to happen, well, it usually does.

The Pietro-Martinelli team acquired the former Ohio Department of Transportation site on W. High Ave. in New Philadelphia for $750,000 and plans on building restaurants and hotels on its 7.8 acres.

Pietro is the broker/owner of Experts Realty, while Martinelli owns and operates R.E.M. Construction.

The Great Recession has not been kind to people like Pietro and Martinelli, and I’m glad to hear they’ll be involved in redeveloping what has been an awful-looking parcel of land for some time.

Actually, all of W. High is awful looking. Can we fix that? Maybe get rid of all the overhead signs, utilizing environmentally friendly low-profile signs…?

That’s too much to ask, isn’t it?

Hopefully, we’re getting over the lull in retail development, which has been nearly non-existent since the recession hit in 2008. There are still retail properties – some never before occupied – that could use tenants.

And while I’m at it, this area could use a legitimate big city bistro with garage door walls that open into fresh air, with sprawling patios and flat screens overhead and decent food on the menu…

OK, then, how about an (gulp) Olive Garden?

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter (dfarrell_dover).

No comments: