Friday, April 18, 2014

Ten Ways To Ruin A Small Town

(This post was originally published in July 2007.)

Recently, a Times reader sent us a thought-provoking piece that appeared in the Keith County News. Since both attitudes and actions play an important role in community development and prosperity, we thought it would be worthwhile to share this list of "ways to ruin a town" with other readers. Regardless of where you live, we think the following list serves as a good reminder of what not to do if you want to improve your community.

'Ten Ways to Ruin a Town'

1. Never attend public meetings. Criticize the way “they” do things.

2. Always remind others about the cold winters, hot summers and general tough conditions for those who live here.

3. Complain about community groups, volunteers, etc.

4. Keep convincing yourself that it’s not important to attend school programs, church services, concerts, ballgames, etc. You won’t be missed.

5. Knock your public officials, including school teachers and administrators. Talk about the “kickbacks” that the city council and school board must be getting.

6. Stay away from church. You might attend on Easter or Christmas to reassure yourself that all who attend are hypocrites.

7. Make purchases out of town or through catalogs or Internet sites. These firms will give back a lot to your community.

8. Remind others that your local newspaper and other communications are no good and have less local news than out-of-town media.

9. Remember: all kids are delinquents, all businessmen are crooks, and bad remarks about your town are the order of the day.

10. Above all, always be skeptical, cynical and negative about anything designed for the community’s progress and betterment.

If any of this sounds like something you do, even occasionally, do something about it. Try helping to build your community. You can make a difference. (This list originally appeared in "101 Ideas on Economic Development" by Cal Clark.)


  1. Why doesn't anyone want to tell everyone who is running all of this. It would be nice to give credit to those people, why can't their be names to the published, our is it a secret.

  2. That list puts it pretty bluntly but every resident of every small town should post it on his/her fridge as a daily refresher! I did.

  3. I don't see "consolidate your school" on the list.

    That is the No. 1 way to ruin a town.

  4. On the Bright Side BettyJune 24, 2007 at 2:29 PM

    I agree with the anonymous who said to keep feedback constructive, float ideas instead of insults. Here goes, how about asking people to send in good things they catch people doing in and around town? Examples, Someone mowed the grass around the curve north of town before Memorial Day, Arnold Filipi picks up litter in the city park almost everyday, Carol Olson picks up trash on the boulevard, the girls team and their coach painted the BB backboards and BB court, you get the idea.

  5. We like your way of thinking, Betty.

    Like any other medium (newspapers, talk radio, newscasts, etc.), the reader comments on this Web site tend to be focused on the community's challenges. That's OK, but a balance is needed.

    So we certainly welcome positive recognition of those making an effort to improve our town.

    In fact, if any readers wish to submit stories and/or pictures of area residents who make positive contributions to our community -- no matter how small or large -- we would be happy to publish it. Just e-mail it to

  6. I totally agree with c.s.r. I am thankful that the citizens of Dorchester passed the the new school issue and got it built. Should be able to bring in kids from out of district and help promote the town. I would also like to thank the people that take their own time to clean up Dorchester. Every little bit counts.

  7. Whatever happened to good 'ol CSR?

  8. I would like to take the time to give a HUGE THANK YOU to Bill Velder, Lyle Weber and Jerome Schnell for putting so much of their time and efforts into the new concession stand and bathrooms up at the baseball/softball/football field. I have heard that they were pretty much up there every night. Great Job guys.

  9. Add leaving junk cars and trash in your front yard.

    Take a drive down the north half of Fulton St. Look west. Sick for the most part.

  10. #11 way to ruin a small town - fail to tell your kids (at a young age) that you hope they make your town home one day, and that the town needs them to survive and thrive.

  11. Those things don't ruin towns. You can do the opposite of everything on that list and still ruin the town. Here's 7 things that really do it.
    1. Adopt the "international building code" and enforce it to the letter.
    2. Put the building code enforcement in the police department.
    3. Make it more difficult to get a business license.
    4. Make it more difficult to get a building permit.
    5. Condemn all unattractive properties.
    6. Waste city money or other government grant money on useless cosmetic improvement projects that don't help anybody.
    7. Make it almost impossible to make property improvements without government assistance and require a "scope of work" report certified by and architect and engineer before allowing any owner to get government assistance to make improvements.


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