Friday, February 04, 2005

Flowers as economic remedy 

Some people just don't know how to be serious. Like a group in Brunswick, Maine whose members

are putting together a plan to convert some or all of Brunswick Naval Air Station into a huge and elaborate flower garden.
I have nothing against flowers. My dad grows and sells them by the thousands, and I planted my fair share of them during my high school summers. In fact, I kinda like flowers. They're pretty and they make places look nice. What they can't do is prevent the economic collapse of Brunswick should the Naval Air Station close. Some people feel otherwise.

The garden would be such an amazing spectacle that it would draw people from around the world, said Herschel Sternlieb, the McKeen Street resident in whose imagination the idea first sprouted.

"I'm not talking about something small on the corner here," said Sternlieb recently during an interview at his home, gesturing out to his residential neighborhood. "I'm talking about a place where people's minds are blown. I'm talking world-class."
I'm talking nonsense! I'm talking complete lunacy!

Seriously, would you go out of your way to see flowers, in a town whose only other claim to fame is a damn good liberal arts college? Even if flowers are a passion for you, would you get on a flight from Frankfurt to see Brunswick, Maine's flower garden? People will come "from around the world" according to Mr. Sternlieb.

I ain't buyin' it.

The people of Brunswick will need an economic shot in the arm if the base closes, and a peace garden certainly won't be it. They will need jobs. A garden won't replace the 1,100 civilian jobs the town stands to lose, not to mention the hundreds more that will be lost as business slows down. Over 4,000 military people, plus families, live in or near Brunswick. If they go, they will no longer spend money in local businesses.

Can a flower garden replace them?

Fortunately this will never be more than a pipe dream. If the base closes, the land will still be Navy property. I seriously doubt that the flower children will be the highest bidder when it goes up for sale.

But goodness... what a daft idea.
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