Chronicle Editorial

A decision that’s already been made

     Making decisions is hard. Not the decisions of what to have for breakfast, or where to go over the weekend or which car to buy. While these decisions are challenging, they don’t carry as much magnitude as definable, life changing decisions that define who we are. Look back on your life and you can probably remember only a handful of crossroad-moments in your existence, in which what you decided upon in that moment altered the course of your life. Do you take that job across the country? Do you get married? Do you have kids? Do you let go of a friend? Do you confront your family?

     Do you remember how hard it was?

     When these decision times come around, they present themselves as one of three choices: choice A, choice B or the often-unmentioned third option, no choice at all. It’s a trifecta more paralyzing then simply flipping a coin. The toughest decisions involve consequences of not doing anything at all. Franklin County is in one of those times — a time where over the next 10 years, its fate will be defined by its action or inaction. Franklin County needs to decide what the sum of its constituencies will do to rejuvenate its housing market.

     Fortunately for our sake, the circumstances of our predicament are set up in such a way that the decision has actually been nearly made for us. Of the options available, choosing not to do anything isn’t on the list. Franklin County is in need of over 600 housing units — rental, ownership and senior residencies — something, anything to inject into the market, over the next 10 years.

     This isn’t one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that we need to gamble on. This isn’t whether or not to finance a project; it’s not kicking the can down the line and see if anything’s change. It’s decision time now, and the only choice is to pick an option from the list before us.

     The Franklin County Development Association paid for the housing study with the intention that municipalities will be able to structure programs that fit their needs and wants. FCDA is in the business of fostering both economic growth and sustainability. It can’t and won’t tell a community what it should do, but it will be their individual advocate to help them prosper. FCDA can only lobby businesses and developers for so long before individual communities need to take it on themselves.

     We here at the Hampton Chronicle want to do our part in this process. As a weekly newspaper, we will breakdown the 180-page housing report into consumable parts, so that we are all understanding of the same data, and can therefore make agreeable decisions about what to do. We intend to do this through our newspaper articles and through our audio media. We know that numbers and data are hard to understand. We hope to be able to give you context in audio form, so that you can hear the thoughts and ideas being drawn out. We also intend to find and research solutions.

     It’s time we take action. In this week’s inaugural article of the series In Demand, we go over the data from a 30,000-foot level. The contents of that article are not all that must be said of the county’s predicament. There is more to be analyzed and broken down and explained, and we intend to uphold our bargain.

     Because failing to be informed and having a dialogue pushes us to an option that’s cataclysmic, the decision to do nothing. Counties around us are getting competitive. The U.S. census is coming up, and if towns receive enough uptick in their numbers, they are in line to receive more money from the state and federal government. All counties and towns are competing for the pot, and we are in demand.

     Our county needs housing. Our county demands it, and should we succeed in providing it, we get pushed into the next echelon.

     If we don’t, then we have essentially filled in our own option on the test: “do nothing.” On a list with any option, any government program, and business venture, any public input, we will have decided to add our own option, the choice of doing nothing.

     We here at the Chronicle look forward to helping do our part, and look forward to the dialogues that will come of this. We will do our part, and we ask that all other parties do their’s.