Environment Was MIA In Latest “State of the County” Program

When local business and government officials gathered recently to hear the official version of the “State of the County,” they got only part of the story.

The presentation as all built around the mathematical mirage that Polk is the fastest-growing county in Florida, based on some recent data. That of course ignores the fact that percentages are based on the difference between the starting point and the ending point, not on absolute numbers.

Between the 2010 and 2020 census, Polk ranked seventh in overall population growth.

Nevertheless, Polk is certainly a lot more crowded place than it was a few decades ago.

This is an environmental issue and one of the reasons for the current campaign to persuade voters to tax themselves again to buy and protect some of the county’s remaining green spaces while they’re still available.

That is why it was disappointing that the environment was barely mentioned in this program. And when it was mentioned, it was in terms of the need to develop more water supplies to keep conducting business as usual.

The fact that the reason water is an issue is because the resource was overexploited for years when it wasn’t being overpolluted and maybe the challenge of the future is to do better didn’t come up.

There was talk of crowded roads, but not the reality of the fact that living in a fast-growing area and expecting no traffic congestion seems to be delusional.

A close look at the 20 so-called priority road projects for which fortunately for the environment there is no money at the moment would illustrate where the priorities lie. Hint: It doesn’t involve protection of green spaces from more urban sprawl.

The provision for adequate parks and open spaces also seemed to have escaped mention.

And so it goes.

Posted in Group Conservation Issues.