I was strolling around a pedestrian-friendly shopping district in a small Iowa town, really enjoying life. It was a sunny autumn day, my challenges were far away, and I had finally, at least temporarily, escaped the strife.
I was struck that this town was just about perfect. I wondered what seemed so right and then I began to look around, to see what cornerstones were in place.
To my right was the city hall and community center. To my left was the historic post office. Directly in front of me was the downtown library.
Oh sure, there were pizza places, a Chinese restaurant, and an Internet cafe or two, a woman’s clothing store, a bakery, a shoe store, a bike shop, a couple of churches, a radio station, a music store, banks, law offices, dentists and doctors and, oh yeah, a downtown grocery store…
…but it really seemed like it’s the substantial and quality public investment that creates the base and/or basis of the private investment that generates the economic vitality and keeps the community strong.