This obsession with a skyscraper in downtown Midland, Texas, is looking more ludicrous with each new revelation. Thursday the morning paper told us that the developer may seek as much as $75 million dollars from taxpayers to make it happen. At least the city council hasn't yet rolled over for him. With an election coming up one would hope at at least one of the two council members who are running for mayor would come out of dreamland and apply some logic to this.
The local economy goes through boom and bust cycles, and it's currently in the mature stage of a boom cycle. And maybe that's why the local government wants to tax and spend like there's no tomorrow.
If office space is in temporary short supply it would seem that there would be a better way to alleviate that problem. A spectacular skyscraper is an ego thing. But I think that could backfire. A lot of Midlanders are a little bit self conscious of our region and slightly insecure about how outsiders view us. One outsider referred to Midland as "F Troop," harking back to an old TV sitcom about a fictional remote army outpost stocked with misfits.
Note the obsession the local government has over development along the corridor between the airport and the city. Note the obsession over making the duck pond look like it's full of water. Appearances are everything.
Here's a challenge for those elected officials who think a new skyscraper is what the taxpayers want. Suppose there really is $75 million in taxpayer funds for the taking. How do you best serve the residents of the city? Fix the roads? Put better traffic control at high accident intersections? Coordinate the traffic lights so traffic would flow better? Solve the water shortage? Sock it away for when the state relinquishes control of major roadways?
Naw, raze the courthouse and erect a monstrous skyscraper in its place, yeah, then the F Troop will finally get some respect.