Editorial: Future of Valley County Depends on Working Together – Caleb Pollard
If you look deeper into the trends of the recent 2010 Census, you’ll find very clear distinctions between Ord and rural Valley County. For the Ord census track, a 5.0% decline occurred. That diverges from a forty-year trend of double-digit decline. Valley County’s decline as a whole dropped to 8.3% from double digit decline the ninety years prior. While I would call this mildly-good news, the devil can be found in the details. The contrast is sharp: rural Valley County witnessed 12.2% decline.
It also clearly defines the disparity between Ord and rural Valley County. You’re seeing the decline’s impact in school consolidation and empty storefronts. It’s evident. If you compare that to the past thirty years, where each decade witnessed double-digit declination, 2010 was quite a positive sign for Ord. It should serve as an alarm for the rest of Valley County.
If an aggressive county-wide campaign to stabilize population decline isn’t created in partnership with each village, Ord will continue to grow at the expense of the rest of the county. It doesn’t take more than one look that Ord is growing economically. The facts don’t lie. It showcases clearly that an aggressive community improvement campaign can have a tangible impact. To do so, it requires major local leadership to work together. Each village, Valley County, each school district, Valley County Economic Development, the City of Ord, the Loup Valley Ag Society and Loup Rivers Rural Public Power District must work together to make it happen. The futures of North Loup and Arcadia don’t lie with outliers like Greeley, Wolbach and Ansley. They lie within the capacity for Valley County to grow together. If you take a snapshot of the reality, this cooperation is clearly not happening.
Our communities survival depend on our ability to work together. It also demands that we reach out to other counties and community to ensure a mutual cooperation for mutual survival. Nobody is going to build our future for us. We have to do it for ourselves. Can we be a sustainable county? Most don’t think we can – yet our future depends on it. I know very well that we have the resources exist to do this. The willpower to work together does not.
Are we going to sit back and let the gravity of history define our future?