A special edition of On the Grow

Larry Van GuilderOn the Grow

Because this is “Take a Developer to Lunch Week,” many neighborhoods associations complied in the spirit of the occasion. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing none have returned, but the associations promise to have them back in time for the next meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

With so few developers at hand for us to pump for news, this seems the ideal time to take a moment and reflect on what we mean by “grow.” After all, it’s a multi-faceted word.

(Pardon me while I slip into something French.) Par example: One may grow old, impatient, frustrated, cautious or enthusiastic. Waistlines grow (sigh), hair grows, and sometimes grows gray. Crops grow, savings grow (or not), love grows, but so can hatred. Everything from toenails to tonsils grows.

You’ll note these examples are a mixed bag, some good, others not so much. But it isn’t only what grows but how it grows that characterizes it as “good” or “bad.”

Consider cities. Especially in the South, cities have been growing at a galloping rate in the last decade. Music City U.S.A., aka Nashville, is a prime example.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 329 million people call the U.S. home, and during the evening rush hour 328 million of them drive to the junction of I-40 and I-65 in Nashville. The remaining 1 million are cruising Pigeon Forge.

That’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. For it to be construed healthy and a positive thing for communities growth can’t “go wild” like the partying college girls in those soft-porn videos hawked on late-night television. Just ‘tain’t fittin.’

Back to On the Grow. Development is not inherently good or bad; how we develop makes all the difference, especially when it comes to industrial development.

When industry grows, the tax base grows. (For our purposes, we’ll pretend that TIF and PILOT programs don’t exist.) Then the equation is simple: With competent leadership and responsible development the community is enriched. More jobs, more amenities, more pride in where we live and work. Everybody wins.

Larry Van Guilder has joined Knox TN Today as go-to guy for On the Grow (which usually is published on Tuesday).


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