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Housing Initiative is big step in right direction

Published: Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 10:54 a.m. CDT

Economic development is no longer a chicken-or-egg proposition for growth-minded communities.

To bring high-paying jobs, new retail opportunities, and new families to a community, there must be new rooftops. Developers in Central Iowa have proven they’re more than ready to build those rooftops, but only in communities that have made the necessary investments that show they want to grow.

In other words, “if you build it, they will come.”

The Newton Housing Initiative isn’t a “do it all on the backs of the taxpayers” program. Rather, it is a kickstart program for future economic development and community improvement.

Much like the starter on your car’s engine. Once the engine fires, it will keep itself running for as long as it has the fuel to do so.

The Housing Initiative’s first goal — to protect existing neighborhood values and improve Newton’s curb appeal — is a no-brainer. The second — to create momentum for housing development — is aimed to bring those future rooftops Newton needs so desperately.

The $3.65 million of proposed bonding for the program does sound like a lot. But as long as Newton sends the message it’s ready to do business, it will be money well-invested.

The City Council should be encouraged to further develop the plan. It’s well thought-out by a brain trust of community leaders who understand what it will take to succeed.

• • •

The preceding constitutes the opinion of the Daily News Editorial Board. Readers may respond with letters to the editor sent to P.O. Box 967, Newton, IA 50208, or at newsroom@newtondailynews.com via email.

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