Friday, June 3, 2011

Convergent thinking will prevail

The residents of the Sun Valley and Wood River Valley areas have a reputation for debating any subject that may even remotely inspire differing viewpoints. That means it's usually open season on anything beyond 2+2=4.

But debate—trading views on major matters of importance—is one thing, and petty bickering is another. Too often, local matters become so bogged down in bickering that leadership loses its way and progress in addressing the host of economic issues presented by the lingering recession in the area evaporates.

This week brought news of a move that should not generate debate and should be a starting place that illustrates what cooperation between private and public entities might achieve.

A local group has applied to the U.S. Olympic Committee for certification as an official training site for Olympians and Paralympians. The application is the result of a joint effort among the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, Wood River Ability Program, the Blaine County Recreation District, Sun Valley Co. and the private economic development group Sustain Blaine.

Approval of the bid for certification is uncertain—but that doesn't matter. What matters is that local businesses, nonprofits and a government entity evaluated their strengths, assessed what each could contribute and pooled their resources and expertise to put together a proposal that could, through leveraging existing athletic assets, enhance the area's economy. The area would benefit from more convergent thinking and more collective action like this—and a lot less bickering.

It may take many good ideas and many more proposals before the ailing economy comes around. That shouldn't discourage people from pursuing new ideas because, eventually, some of them will work.

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