What does one do when possible success and an easier track to said success comes at the expense of others? Does it solely depend on circumstances or is it a universal set of ideas? I presented my thesis this morning, a Masterplan for my hometown of Centralia, Illinois. Two of the huge issues facing Centralia is that it doesn't have much to draw people from other towns and unemployment is high, largely in part due to a lack of jobs because of small manufacturing plants shutting down. Anyway, during the presentation one of my committee members makes the proposal of a downtown casino (half kidding) ignoring the legalities of the proposal, it seemed like a viable solution, it would draw people from hours away, as the closest casinos are in St. Louis over an hour away, as well as provide hundreds of jobs. The issue with such a proposal (again ignoring legality issues) is is this the right kind of establishment for Centralia? A focus of my project is trying to bring in more small businesses to the downtown area, people who own the shops live in or near Centralia, which in turn will keep the money in Centralia. Large corporations such as Walmart, McDonalds, et cetera keep money from staying in the area, profits are sent to those high in the corporate food chain, who are not in Centralia. The products in Walmart are largely made overseas, which again sends money out of the area, while products could be made in Centralia, using local materials keeping all resources and money in the area, maintaining a stronger local economy.
You also have to analyze the impact such a building type would have on an economy, this is another reason that I wouldn’t believe a casino is right for Centralia. When people discuss Centralia there seem to be a number of issues that come up, one of the biggest of which is drugs. Drugs are a real problem in Centralia, as alcohol can be, and to me, pairing those two vices with a casino would raise serious doubt and anger among the community, as casino’s generally don’t always bring around the greatest characters, nothing against those who do partake in gambling, I have friends that go consistently and a family member that works at one. Again, however, I don’t see it as a good fit in the Centralia community, and it would take a lot of money out of the community, because let’s face it, casino’s would not be around if everyone was winning. Where would those casino profits go? It’s unlikely such a venture could be afforded by a local business man, so it would likely be a larger corporation that would open it, with profits leaving the Centralia area, and those profits would come at the expense of local citizens.
All things being said, it was a very good idea, addressed too big needs for Centralia, a real draw to bring people in and it would have brought in a number of jobs, but you have to look deeper, and having grown up there my entire life, I know it would not be the right solution for the problem. I think this was my first true test of ethics in a project, perhaps I only think that because of my passion for my hometown, but it definitely hit home this morning, it was an interesting feeling.