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David Reynolds | It’s over

It’s over. Almost heaven won. Heaven lost.
That once both feared and loved army of Boy Scouts will not be coming to East Virginia every four years. No, the National Boys Scouts Jamboree will be heading west to the other Virginia. They will still be using Interstate 64, but there will be no stopping in Rockbridge County. And there will be no need to fix up the Goshen train station. Thurmond, W.Va., has one, 150 miles up the line. 

Man tried his best here in Virginia. The technical issues were solved. The environment could be protected. It was all feasible. But the price to do so was too high for the amount of land that could be utilized. Short boys and their tall leaders don’t have deep pockets.

To a large degree we were up against God. The shaper of mountains, forests, plains, rivers and gorges gave West Virginia the edge. I know that is hard for us to believe. We believe that this is paradise. Why should men or boys think otherwise?

Could it have turned our differently if the our positive thinkers were also positive doers? If Richmond matched any offers from Charleston? Probably not. But it would have been nice if we had earned a merit badge or two somewhere along the way.

Two guys from Texas wanted very much to make it work here. They were straight shooters. For this we will always be grateful.

It was no secret that if the BSA consultants could have contained the dollar cost while providing the utilization of the land needed, then we would be the bigger spot on the map. Now it will be Mount Hope, W.Va., population 1,500.

Yes, hope passed us by. But I still love it here. You can’t take that away from me.

Sorry, little Goshen, beautiful Rockbridge County and the museum town of Lexington, your spots on the map are secure. You can go back to sleep. Your reputation is intact. Don’t forget to wave to the scouts as they head west out of our Nation’s Capital or east out of Chicago. But be quick about it. There will be no Goshen stop. The boys will be getting off in Thurmond, W.Va., where there will be just another country road taking them home.

When West Virginia is officially announced as the winner in the two state Boy Scout lottery, please don’t make the mistake of pointing fingers or beating breasts. (Arkansas was eliminated earlier.) Our vocal minority was not really heard. When you have a real estate license you also know the opposition. It goes with the territory

With every victory comes defeat. Development tends to be a zero-sum game. Jobs for West Virginia means no jobs for Virginia. Land saved from humans can mean land now reserved for buidings. The cash-starved National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America is now free to develop up to 400 lots. And it has no funds to fix a polluting dam. Some victory.

This all reminds me of when the landed gentry, The Washington Post and other naysayers north of the Rappahannock kicked out Mickey Mouse. Disney’s America never got off the ground. Instead that ground is no more – it is urban sprawl. And where are the kids walking around learning about this nation’s history? They are gone, too.

That’s it, a sad day for most of us. But we are adults. This is not our first rejection. We played the land that was dealt us. It was a good play, but not good enough.

And what did we learn? Hopefully, we learned that without trust there is no real discussion. Public issues require trust. We better grow up and trust the truth and not be afraid of a little sunlight. And we better start trusting an open democratic process. Isn’t it ironic? We lost a major development project to the Boys Scouts of America because, in part, we failed to follow the lessons of scouting.

 

– Column by David Reynolds


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