10 & 11 August 2018
Twin Falls is a tale of two cities, what it could have been and what it has become. Snake River Canyon exceeded our expectations as I wrote in my previous post; however I would be remiss if I did not address the commercial development that does not show up in my pictures nor any you will find on their tourism and marketing websites. In my opinion the planning and zoning for the “bridgeview” areas on either side of Perrine Bridge is an example of extreme negligence, ignorance, greed, and/or downright stupidity. Sadly it is an example of mismanagement by local governments that has plagued the United States.
In my previous post, you get a glimpse of amazing natural beauty in the area. Not only is it a gift of nature and a national treasure, it could be a gold mine for this small town. Protecting, publicizing and developing first class parks, hiking trails, and facilites should have been their primary goal. Putting Snake River Canyon on the map could set Twin Falls up for years of prosperity. When people decide to spend their hard earned dollars on their annual one week vacation, where do they want to go? When new employers look for a town to invest, where do they think they can find, attract and retain talent?
Perrine Bridge as Advertised
Perrine Bridge in Reality
Canyon Rim Trail’s Less Attractive View
Yes, development of hotels, restaurants, and shops are needed to support and attract tourists and new businesses, and most importantly to create a sustainable tax base for continued growth and promotion of the town. This is were Twin Falls leadership failed miserably, as do so many small towns in America. After standing on the Canyon Rim Trail with all its majestic beauty, simply turn around and stare at the bleak Best Buy parking lot. Yes, Best Buy and other big box retailers have a million dollar view of the canyon and bridge. It’s not reserved for parks, playgrounds, scenery and thrill based attractions, hotels and resorts, cafes, gift shops, or even million dollar homes. Some of the best views in town are from big box retailer parking lots! This is what is wrong with America. Short-sighted politicians patting themselves on the back for providing their town with a plethora of minimum wage jobs instead of meaningful long-term growth and stability. People constantly running for election have no long-term vision or fortitude to do what’s right, they only do enough to get themselves re-elected.
Twin Falls has a charming downtown area now referred to as the historic district. It’s referred to as ‘historic’ because it is no longer the focal point. The area between the Canyon Rim and downtown is filled with retailers, which is to be expected. But when given the chance to make it easier and cheaper for new retailers to set up shop in areas within or close to town, they chose to allow them to build on the most valuable land in town. For what? Cowards let big box retail and developers take prime land they will not get back in the foreseeable future instead of protecting and developing their natural resources.
The Blue Mountains area outside Sydney, Australia is a great example of what could have been.
Twin Falls is a great place to visit and I encourage you to do so. It makes me angry and sad that its potential has been so severely limited. Worse yet, I’m not sure they even understand it.