Friday, February 27, 2009

Community involvement

We ran news recently of a Saint Index survey of the most unwanted real estate projects in U.S. communities. Landfills were most reviled at 78 percent, while casinos (77 percent), quarries (62 percent) and nuclear power plants (60 percent) followed. Personal experience leads me to believe that landfills rank No. 1. My parents live near a landfill in Northeast Ohio – in the same house where I grew up. Their frustrations stem from a number of factors – an unsightly heap of land nearby, the smell of garbage, the constant worry that the air and water could be contaminated, sinking property values. They feel officials aren’t trustworthy and people are making money at others’ expense. This survey and my family’s experience make me wonder how quarries fit into all of this. If residents have similar feelings toward aggregate producers, what can be done? I believe the answer falls under communication and action. Talk to the community, utilize the media to tell positive stories and conduct plant tours to explain the importance of your work – and simply show you care. And maybe this is already happening. The Saint Index survey, which polled 1,000 adults nationwide, also showed that opposition to quarries fell 2 percent from a year ago. -- Brian Richesson

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