Our Voice: Opportunity abounds in Aberdeen

Farm Forum

Sometimes, the stars align.

That is how we see it for three topics being discussed in Aberdeen:

• For a limited time, the city of Aberdeen will give the old Washington Elementary School away for free, along with a $400,000 check and 12 free parking spots. The purchaser has to develop the building within a certain amount of time and demonstrate that he or she has the financial and technical ability to do so. At the end of the work, the assessed value of the land and the building must be $1 million or more.

• The city is looking into buying the 77-year-old federal building as a way to keep federal court and its annual payroll of $1.1 million, plus the more than $400,000 it spends every year in court-appointed attorney fees. There would be room for more tenants as well.

• Meanwhile, the recent $60,000 Buxton study gave ammunition to city and business leaders, developers and entrepreneurs to attract, encourage and germinate the kinds of businesses area residents want. The study identified areas of leakage: goods and services Aberdeen lacks that residents go out of town to find.

Key leakage areas include:

• Health and personal care stores.

• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores.

• Clothing and clothing accessory stores.

Aberdeen is now armed with space and information. More importantly, public information for all to digest, not to mention one space with 400,000 incentives.

Maybe you, your neighbor — or a group of you — or an existing business would like to take on the Washington school and turn it into a combination health, hobby, book, music and clothing store with an eatery.

Talk about your one-stop shopping.

Maybe someone studies and researches federal buildings across this nation. What tenants pair well with federal court? We are sure lots of examples and ideas are out there waiting to be researched, developed and brought to life.

We have a lot of smart, progressive people in this community. We have a lot of people who love this community. We have a lot of people who welcome and accept the hard work it takes to get ahead in life.

We have many of the ingredients to make a tasty smorgasbord of new businesses and ventures to make this city better and stronger.

Be smart, but dream big and write your own story in Aberdeen.

Life certainly is good in Aberdeen.

And not to get greedy, but of course, it can always be better.

— American News editorial board