Letter to the Editor October 26, 2016

Maple Lake is a fine community that I believe has a bright future. There are many issues that people are concerned about and if we want our city to continue to be a city that we can all be proud of we should be looking at growth and what can be done to make it grow. I was raised in a small town of less than four hundred people and I like the small town feeling that many residents of Maple Lake enjoy. However, the way of the world is that if we want to survive we must focus on growth. If we do not have a sufficient number of families with children we may wake up some morning to hear how our school conciliated with another neighboring school. The greater St. Cloud Development group members make it clear that the number one thing for a community to have is profitable companies providing high quality jobs! Jobs will attract people to build homes and be residents to support the economy and the school. Jobs are first and then the other good things like housing and grocery stores will follow.
In the small town of New Auburn, MN where I grew up my father was a farm implement dealer and then when I was 19 I became employed with an aluminum die casting company in Minneapolis and during my term of employment it experienced tremendous growth and I had the good fortune of being part of management, traveling meeting with major US manufacturers and involved in many of the planning secessions getting the understanding what is important for business to be successful. Later I started my own business out of my garage in south Minneapolis and then moved into a business complex in Bloomington. It was scary, no employees and no customers. Fortunately, I had terrific family support and became surrounded by fine, very intelligent, dedicated people and that is what made us successful. My story is one of those garage shop stories and this garage shop is now what we know as Pace Industries Product Technologies division in Maple Lake. There are many of these stories and Cedar Lake Engineering is another one. I like to share my experiences to help other business and our community, that’s why I put the effort into the things I do. When I make comments about helping small and larger business I have experienced many of the concerns they have.
When we vote for our candidates in the upcoming election I believe we should vote for the ones that are business minded and support growth.
Since 1995 when we moved our business to Maple Lake one of the concerns has always been what should be done to help down town business. Suggestions commonly are things like providing loans, grants etc. and those are good however if the businesses are not profitable that won’t be of much help. What the businesses need are customers to give them money. It should not be the City government to provide all the assistance to them, the chamber of commerce should be the driving force to help create activity and bring people to town. The city government needs to support the chamber’s efforts and something that could be done right now is to help make the Town Square a reality. This is a tool that brings people to town to spend money. More than just our residents are needed to support the businesses. The few tax dollars and sale price received from a new building on the vacant lot is nothing compared to the revenue that would be generated from many healthy businesses. A town square is not a park. We have a nice park for family enjoyment. There are many people that would volunteer to help make the project successful and not create a burden to the tax payers. Missing this golden opportunity to help Maple Lake business would be a disaster!
John Rivers