To the editor:
In February of 1995 I came to Benton to start a business. My first stop was Benton City Hall. Since this was the location of the Chamber of Commerce, I though that I could get a lead on a building to open up shop. The lady in the Chamber office had no suggestions. This ended our five-minute conversation. Then I noticed the mayor was sitting in his office, so I informed him of my plans. He too was less than enthused, to say the least.
I believe it"s safe to say that I was not the only person to receive this lukewarm response at the time who was contemplating starting a business in Benton, then chose to be somewhere else. But being the persistent (stubborn) person that I am I chose to go it alone. I contacted a realtor who helped me secure a building, and once I was opened I asked the Evening News to help me get the word out with a story to let the public know of existence and they agreed.
Now, 22 years later, I"m semi-retired, and I still see resistance to change. Some are still clinging to the hope of returning to coal mining and manufacturing as our bread and butter. This is possible but doubtful.
We have a mayor and city council who recognize that to go forward small business is the key to success in the 21st century. There will always be resistance to any kind of change. In just a years, construction has been on the new wastewater plant. We have ordered an up-to-date fire truck. A more efficient city hall, and soon to be completed power department. And if the state ever gets it act together a new interchange at Petroff Road. These are all positive steps to attract new business, because its not 1995 anymore.