The Chronicle: “Centralia Station Development Is Just What We Need”

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Christine Fossett Commentary: Centralia Station Development Is Just What We Need

Christine Fossett, The Chronicle

November 16, 2012

This community has made its mark over the generations by pushing forward when outsiders thought we were done. Stalwart individuals settled here and made this valley their home. They persevered, they built, they grew and prospered.

If you have lived here for any length of time you have seen great accomplishments through individual and group effort. In our lifetimes the dream to build a veteran’s museum was accomplished by local effort. The vision to bring sports teams from our region together to compete in a fresh, family-friendly setting is already seeing benefits for the businesses in our area. Our proud residents overcame the effects of the most recent floods and a diligent group has worked in unison and is ready to bring a long-term solution to the governor for her approval.

These are all examples of local people dedicating time and working together to make something happen. They didn’t just sit back and complain about what wasn’t being done. That brings me to today.

Growth — we desperately need it. Not the big-city, high rise, don’t know your neighbor type of growth. But growth that brings jobs. And resources. And opportunities.

Centralia Station is our next example of what will be accomplished here, by our own. This is a comprehensive collaborative effort of public, private and educational sectors all working toward a common goal. The Port of Centralia has taken the lead and lends its expertise and proven record along with support from the Lewis Economic Development Council, the city of Centralia, Centralia College and private partners.

This project will offer local residents jobs in the early to final construction phases. It will offer jobs for the long haul, and not simply baseline retail jobs, but also professional, service and management jobs. The project will also provide additional opportunities for Centralia College to expand, for our growing medical facility needs as well as professional office space and restaurants. The retail space that will be available has already piqued the interest of a few chains looking to expand.

This economic development team has done their due diligence. They have already been working with the Department of Transportation, environmental experts and the residents in the local neighborhoods. The idea has been received with great support.

Residents can easily see the end benefit of a more beautiful Mellen Street area from the city and I-5 and increased tax revenues to benefit the schools and social services. Centralia College and local students would benefit from the additional soccer fields planned for the development. All local residents would gain from the added services and amenities at Centralia Station. This would not just benefit the passersby on I-5. Did I mention it will create and sustain jobs?

This dynamic group brings us another opportunity to make our mark, to stand on our own two feet. We can create our own development rather than wait for outside sources to determine what we need or don’t need. Let’s remember that the outlet mall was the ambition of a local citizen to create prosperity and it continues to shine from Harrison Avenue even today.

This project is jobs. This is our opportunity to grow and prosper yet again.

Christine Fossett is publisher of The Chronicle. She also serves as president and chief operating officer for Lafromboise Communications, Inc., the parent company of The Chronicle. She can be reached at cfossett@chronline.com.