EDITORIAL | First Street proposals evidence of successful economic development

It’s working.

Large, expensive public works projects driven by visions of economic development have begun to bear fruit in Langley. In the past month alone, two property owners have come forward with plans to sink big bucks into new developments on First Street.

This is what elected officials have been working for — new interest and a willingness to invest in Langley and the South End. Such hopes were cornerstones upon which the city’s Second Street renovation project and the Port of South Whidbey’s marina expansion were built.

Yet, as the plans of these private investors come to light the shade under our newly grown tree of prosperity somehow feels a bit darker.

Both proposals would spell radical change for the tiny Village by the Sea: two buildings would be demolished, one of them a city icon. While two brand new structures would sprout up in their place, together these projects have the power to fundamentally change the character and feel of First Street.

Perhaps it’s the suddenness of the proposals, or their combined scope, but it’s a lot to take in and Langley residents have a right question or express personal objections to these plans. The general public may not own these properties, but the deed to Langley’s soul belongs to us all.

However, renewed interest and a healthier more vibrant economy is what city and port leaders have been working toward. It may not be shaping up exactly as everyone envisioned, but it’s what was asked for.

These proponents have answered that call, and may their projects be a boon for the economy. But as their designs move forward and their plans solidify, may they also consider and weigh carefully the opinions and views of those who call Langley home.

They may not be footing the bill, but the shape and destiny of the community belongs to them too.

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