Wheeler is a town of about three hundred full-time residents and about 100 absentee owners. The citizens of Wheeler love the smallness of our town, regardless of the fact that we can buy none of the necessities of life within its borders.
Wheeler is figuratively sliding into a financial abyss while at the same time literally sliding down the hill, and into the bay. Storm water mitigation is perhaps our city’s most pressing need, and the city is criticized and even sued for not “fixing it” with money it doesn’t have.
Wheeler used to be a big, little town. With banks, movie theaters, grocers, cleaners, hotels, gasoline stations, mills and canneries. It was an exciting and dynamic place to live and thrive. But now it’s all gone. The world changed around us, and Wheeler got caught with its municipal pants down.
Someone recently said - while discussing the proposed waterfront development at the north end of town - “We don’t want to be another Manzanita, or God forbid, Rockaway. We just want a quiet little village.” Well, the answer to that is that nothing in the natural world is static. Change is going to happen. If we try to remain just as we are, our local lodging establishments will continue to draw tourists with our stellar views, two nice cafes, a first class restaurant, and a diminishing salmon run. But that will be overshadowed by the appearance of “Main Street”. Our partially occupied business district will still look like a drunk with several missing teeth.
We have an opportunity to make a choice. Perhaps a “now or never” chance. There is a smallish group of citizens who oppose allowing a property owner to develop his land in a way that is allowable. Yes, there are arguing points, some valid. The owner is entirely open to considering community desires and best interests. This has the potential to become our best chance for sustainable change with advantages too great to list. It would be low key and attractive and help to develop an increased tax base; allowing us to proudly develop a fully functioning community infrastructure.
In the midst of this positive change, what would make our village one that we could continue to love? The word is “DYNAMIC”. The definition of DYNAMIC: ‘”POSITIVE IN ATTITUDE AND FULL OF ENERGY AND NEW IDEAS”. When have the forward thinking citizens of Wheeler thought like this? If we’re not a DYNAMIC community, what are we? The opposite of Dynamic is: “MILD, IDLE, INACTIVE AND APATHETIC”. Throw in a dose of “us against them” and it’s a guaranteed one-way ticket to a dying town. This is unacceptable to us, as it should be to you. If we allow it to continue, we can look forward to a shrinking tax base, faltering infrastructure, limited city services, rising local taxes and failing local businesses
A bit of DYNAMIC thinking could go a long way right now.