As the Tri-City area, and much of Benton County, embraces urban and commercial development, there is, and will be increasingly, a strong need for open spaces and natural habitat areas that allow the citizens to balance out their daily lives. A yes vote on Proposition 14-7 will advise the Benton County commissioners to create the Benton County Conservations Fund, the like of which already exists in 13 Washington counties, including Spokane and Ferry counties. Passage of this measure would lead to a further step to preserve habitat and expand public access for quality outdoor recreation in Benton County, and allow for matching funds from state, federal and private sources to multiply the effect of locally collected dollars.
Proposition 14-7 is not a fanatical idea, but one that is practical, useful and would lead to establishing a fund that would, in turn, become an integral part of long-range county development planning.
The county could build on local pride, and help put this area on the map for tourists and people looking to live and work in communities that have these natural resources.
Ultimately, it will be up to the voters of Benton County to determine if working towards the protection of open spaces and natural habitat is worth their time and consideration, along with all the goodies that urban development brings.
— TOM MCCLELLAND, Benton City