At long last a decision has been made on the realignment of Highway 371 at Pequot Lakes. Going back several years, we remember the complaint of one exasperated Pequot Lakes businessman who had an opinion in the long-standing debate but who confided that the indecision and uncertainty was hurting his ability to make smart decisions as much as anything.
Now civic leaders and residents can make informed decisions, knowing the highway will be routed east of downtown. There's nothing we could say on that decision, either pro or con, that would change the mind of any of the advocates in this long controversy. It's time for all involved to make the best of the situation and make plans for the future.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation currently has plans for many more projects than they have sufficient funding to implement. Given the current economy and tight state budgets the city may see delays in the 2018 target date for the realignment. Traffic in the Pequot Lakes area is likely to increase by 2018 and the decision to avert downtown may mean that motorists will avoid a gridlock scenario.
The key to a thriving downtown is to make Pequot Lakes a destination location, a place travelers will seek out for meals and shopping once they have safely arrived in the lakes area. That's our Christmas time wish for the business people and residents of Pequot Lakes.