“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
These immortal words of Sen. Robert Kennedy have echoed through our nation’s history for decades.
Kennedy’s life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet, but the question lives on, “Why not?”
I often think of this when looking at the potential of my hometown. I absolutely love Minden and have all my life. I see the potential in its people, its economy and its impact on the rest of the world.
When I take a step back, I can see the greatness of Minden:
I see how we come together each February to raise more than $1 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and wonder, “What could we accomplish if we had that kind of unity all year long?”
I see Northwest Louisiana Technical College as a “shining city on a hill” in the area of higher education. We have the college we’ve always wanted in Minden, and it’s on the cutting edge in many ways.
I see the seeds of entrepreneurial growth in the businesses being planted by young people in the community. They aren’t just leaving for the “big city.” They are staying, coming back, and investing in their hometown.
I see our students receiving a quality education, if they choose to apply themselves. Don’t believe me? Just sit through any of our high school graduations and you will see countless students earning academic honors and scholarships.
I see hard work and dedication among so many, from football teams to business groups.
With all that is going well for Minden, why aren’t we growing as a community? Maybe the better question should hearken back to Sen Kennedy, “Why not?” However in this case, let’s look at things the way they could be.
Just 30 miles (or less) to our west, the National Cyber Research Park is creating a hub of innovation, with new tenants and partnerships being announced frequently.
CSRA, who just opened their Integrated Technology Center last month, will employ in excess of 800 people in the tech industry, many of them millennials. As a result, Bossier City is revamping its dilapidated downtown to be more inviting to these, and others.
Why not Minden?
We have a picturesque downtown area. While it would take significant planning and investment, I would imagine it could be accomplished. We already have much of the infrastructure in place, thanks to the rebuilding of the brick streets a decade ago.
Next door to the National Cyber Research Park, Bossier Parish Community College is growing by leaps and bounds, despite continuous cuts from the state. Its growth has spurred growth along Texas Street. While still in its infancy, much is planned for the district.
Why not Minden?
Located on Industrial Drive, with good visibility along Interstate 20, Northwest Louisiana Technical College is a perfect anchor to a greater vision of education, retail and entertainment.
Perhaps these two examples are already being discussed in economic development circles. If so, then we should do all we can to get behind the efforts. Regardless, now is the time to stop looking at Minden for all its shortcomings, and begin to build our community around its potential.
Its time to not only ask “Why not Minden?” but to follow Nike’s lead and “Just do it.”
David Specht is president of Specht Newspapers Inc. He may be reached via email ad firstname.lastname@example.org.