Friday, April 04, 2008

EDITORIAL >>Winners and losers

On annexation election night, Sherwood had a watch party at a Gravel Ridge business while Jacksonville gathered at city hall.

Both cities sent out people to get the vote count as soon as possible. They both got the same results—a 3-1 victory for Sherwood—but looking in on the Jacksonville party, it would have been hard to believe the city had lost.

So who did win and lose in this battle for Gravel Ridge? Perhaps Gravel Ridge was the loser. For if “none of the above” would have been on that annexation ballot, it would have garnered the most votes.

Gravel Ridge residents will have to comply with city law now, not county. That means no more pit bulls, no more jalopies in yards and a tighter rein on building codes.

Sherwood gains land, people and eventually a larger tax base. It will get money immediately for its parks and recreation programs and its advertising and promotion commission through the 2-cent hamburger tax Gravel Ridge eateries will have to start charging.

Jacksonville — which could have annexed Gravel Ridge a generation ago — now gets to pocket a large sum of money it was looking to use to invest in Gravel Ridge. That money can now be turned inward and used to help the people who are Jacksonville residents.

Jacksonville will give up growth — it will now be landlocked for all intents and purposes — but it can focus on bringing in more restaurants like Chili’s. The Jacksonville location is one of the chain’s most profitable outlets. The city can work on bringing in commercial developments around the I-440 interchanges that are in the city limits.

Sherwood has an I-440 interchange, too—on paper, but it could be 20 years before it gets built.

So who won? Everybody has an idea, and nobody will know for sure for years to come.