Gas Stations, Fast Food, and What the Market Will Bear

People drive cars, and most cars take gasoline; many people like to get food quickly, and so fast food restaurants meet that desire. There’s nothing wrong with having gas stations or burger joints in a town.

One reads today that Whitewater will sell some city-owned land near a roundabout to a gas station chain, Kwik Trip. There’s been talk like this for years, much of it ill-informed. If the city’s asking price is the market rate for the land (as it seems to be), then it’s better that the property is in private hands.

For it all, however, it’s telling that the market will bear (without public subsidy) only another gas station or fast-food restaurant.

These developments reflect poorly on Whitewater’s Community Development Authority. That public body has developed nothing worthwhile. Grandiose talk and marketing pronouncements now meet the sad truth of limited opportunities.  The last two CDA chairmen simply wasted money and time on sketchy tech startups and trickle down business welfare, while applying the junk policies of their business-league lobbing group to a city for which those policies are wholly unsuited.

Whitewater has lost ground over the last decade while these men played with public money and, perhaps, scrapbooked newspaper clippings about themselves.

Without an uplift of personal and household incomes – areas in which Whitewater lags the state and country – there can be no meaningful community development.

See Reported Family Poverty in Whitewater Increased Over the Last Decade and A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA.

These run-of-the-mill ventures are a sign of what the market can – and cannot – bear.

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