In response to an article written in the Star Tribune … regarding the small town in which we live.
We live, work and own a historic building in downtown Jordan and have been for 7 years. We have completely restored this landmark to preserve it for ourselves and generations to come. Our business caters specifically to Fortune 100-1000 companies and the media industry in creating entertainment destination solutions for their clients, staff and investors, thus equipping us with certain insights as to Jordan’s dilemmas in being able to emerge from the past with a new shiny image.
Plopped in the middle of the polar opposite of what we create on a daily basis, that being logical solutions, it is only natural to submit our observations for what Jordan has to offer today as opposed to what it could offer tomorrow by simply pushing the reset button.
#1. A tremendous level of “Minnesota Mean” has been nurtured in this community by the echoes of a shadowed time in its long past history. Most still seem embarrassed by it in the same manner in which we should be shouldering the responsibility of the decisions of our forefather’s treatment of slaves and Native Americans, all of whom I was raised to embrace as equals. So our advice is: Don’t forget … but build a bridge and get over it. Columbine has, New York has. What makes you so special? This behavior translates into a shunning of newcomers and businesses that will forever hold you in the vortex of your current state of isolation.
#2. Humans, based on minimal factual input, will generally arrive at a false conclusion. Jordan has become famous for this with those jaded by a constant involvement in its contradictory government to a majority of its residence who become versed once every four years as if it were the Olympics (who was that guy that won gold for broad jumping in 2000?). We find ourselves vetting reports from locals of “blacklisting special interest good old boys determined to kill the historical downtown for fast food growth along 169, and I would say more, but don’t want to lose my job”. The injection of an industrial mercury belching crematory in the heart of the downtown/residential zoned area and ten minute parking limitations on our main street may indicate to most that this is the path. Although I myself thought it was genius to limit the exposure of visitors to our carcinogens thus averting major lawsuits. So our advice: Get involved, learn the facts, and not just when the dog poops in your yard.
#3. The apathy created by #2 in the hearts of our good citizens, by most accounts, seems to have lead to a less than qualified cadre of candidates for both elected, staff and volunteer positions in managing this city (for a good time, call city hall for the minutes). Good neighbors don’t always make good leaders, and those equipped with only the truth are ostracized, to what end, we’re not sure (it seems that the current Presidential race is helping set that bar).The cascading results of this has lead to the exodus of qualified, caring individuals who discovered their talents best spent elsewhere on those who would welcome and encourage it, as opposed to spitting in the wind. The outshoot of these unprepared decisions don’t seem to be representative of the conclusions those who elected them would have wanted, so it really isn’t representation, is it? So our advice: See #2 advice and … People Up! (pc) Close the gap on the divisions suffered on the city council, the community, and all of the support elements around them, i.e. the EDA, Chamber of Commerce, Commercial Club, etc. Follow your kindergarten teacher’s advice, and learn to work together.
#4. Jordan has a golden egg sitting in the palm of their hands, but can’t for the life of them figure out its value. A gorgeous park, lagoon, waterfall, famous baseball park, a large concentration of historical buildings and I believe, existing under the breath of most individuals here, the true desire to make it all it can be. The coexistence of 169 business for the fast trackers, to the enhanced experience of shopping downtown in the 1800’s for antiques, flowers, gifts, ice cream, and quality meats from our friends at Pekarna’s, and then a quiet stroll through a diverse natural habitat to end the day, is within our reach. So our advice: Concentrate on your assets. Anybody can have a McDonald’s. Anybody can have a Target. I can stop at any one of a hundred pull outs along 169 for a burger and fries. But I am more attracted, as most travelers would be, to the true beauty of this marvelous place and the surprises one can find here. It’s time to hit the reset button, and if not, we will unfortunately be penning another version of “Paradise Lost”.
Preparation is key, when considering a move to a small town. Knowledge is power and would highly suggest attending a city council meeting or two … just to get your feet wet! Shoulda, coulda, didn’t.
Understand up front that you will never, ever, ever and I mean never … feel like a part of the community and you will most certainly make more enemies than you will friends.
Come to terms with the reality that there is absolutely nothing you can do to change things … small town folk think they own the place … isn’t that cute … you’re an intruder … get over it … if something ever does change you may not live to see it.
SIDE BAR: Even though this appears to be a slam on small town living … it’s not … I love our vintage building and the quiet historic place where it stands.
Best advice we can give when making the move into a small town … mind your own business, surrender to being a topic of conversation every time you walk the dog, keep saying hello, even if they make a face (or ignore you) when you do, enjoy the quiet and think happy thoughts.
It’s easy enough, with practice … you just can’t let it get to you.
Besides, I love the solitude and beauty of this place and they’re not the boss of me.