Wayne's Words: “BALANCE” is the answer

Wayne Horne | 1/24/2018, 9:08 a.m.
Balance is a word sometimes used to explain the “challenges” of issues that are difficult to resolve and not everyone ...

Balance is a word sometimes used to explain the “challenges” of issues that are difficult to resolve and not everyone is satisfied with the solution. The most common definitions of “balance” can be found in any dictionary. One definition I found seems to fit what most are seeking when the issue of “balance” comes up: to offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another. For instance, economic benefit versus quality of life standards. Balance doesn’t mean competing issues are even.

I began to think about the definition of balance after having knee replacement surgery a few weeks ago. The surgery was successful but that’s not the end of it. The real recovery comes when the physical therapy begins, which is immediately. In fact, physical therapy starts the same day of the surgery after you wake up.

The medical professionals explained to me that the knee itself is able to move efficiently and smoothly, but the surrounding area of the knee must be “balanced” with the new knee. In other words, all of the old parts must now be adjusted to fit the new part. The surgery takes about two hours. The “balancing” can take a few weeks to several months. I’m clinging to the few weeks scenario for myself.

Over the years I’ve been writing this column, many of the topics have concerned both political and community issues that were about balance. Most of the time it is difficult to separate the political issues from the community issues because the community issues are usually resolved via current political realities.

There are many issues across the governmental spectrum nationally, statewide and locally that require “balance.” Locally, the one garnering the most attention at the moment are two warehouse developments located along the corridor between Route 53 and Interstate 55. The “balance” at issue pits residents in the areas most adjacent to the proposed developments versus the desire for the existing tranquility of the residents. So far, the balance seems to be tipping in favor of the economic benefits.

There is certainly a benefit to be realized in the short term with construction jobs and the staffing of the facilities once they are constructed. The Will County region and certainly the City of Joliet stand to benefit from the economic benefits of job creation and tax revenue from the proposed projects. Developments of this type have exploded in the Will County area in the last decade. But at what price?

Traffic congestion, for one, because highways are not adequate for the increased volume of trucks clogging the roadways. The density of the developments also tends to choke off the quality of life enjoyed by those who occupy residential areas adjacent to the warehouses and the highways and railroads that connect them with the rest of the country.

Some are suggesting that saying no to developments of this type is short-sighted and sends the message that new development is not wanted in the area. There are others who believe “you can’t stop progress.” Still others believe that a safe and quiet environment to live in is just as important, if not more so.