Do you want to be a community associated with a world-renowned medical center or the frac-sand processing and transportation capital of America?
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester recently proposed a major expansion. Other southeastern Minnesota cities like St. Charles and Winona are in a position to benefit from the residual activity that follows such a project.
There are Mayo employees who commute from both towns today. The possibilities are endless: new residential growth, followed by the need for more retail and service outlets, and an increased market for existing tourism and cultural events.
However, are people going to want to relocate or travel to towns with endless truck traffic? Where the quality of air and water is questionable, or where the hills and bluffs are replaced by open pit mines?
The city of Winona and Winona County have yet to generate an "in-depth" study of the impact that frac sand mining will have on the local economy and quality of life. How can one proceed without closely looking at these issues? How many jobs are projected per mine and each processing facility? How much estimated revenue will be generated and remain in the local economy vs. leaving the state?
How sustainable will these positions be with the fluctuating gas market as we transition to green technology? Who benefits, a few or many?
The real question is: Do you want to be a community associated with a world-renowned medical center or the frac-sand processing and transportation capital of America?
DALE SCHAUER, WINONA, MINN.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.