X-Bow Town Hall Meeting 6.14.2021
It has taken me until today to compose my thoughts regarding last night’s meeting with X-Bow (Crossbow). This company, through its Marlin connection in Lester Martin, chose to look at Marlin out of other opportunities they had in Utah, Nevada, and Alabama. The CEO flew in from Denver, CO. and another board member flew in from Albuquerque, NM. The city was offering a 10-year lease on 5 acres of land in exchange for the company remaining in Marlin for the 10 years and providing a minimum of 25% of a potential 250-500 jobs over 3-5 years with a minimum pay of $15 per hour. The noise level produced by their testing was compared to one half of 1% of what SpaceEx produces. As we have done in the past, the company wanted to gauge sentiment of the community through a town hall with citizens. There were many who showed up but unfortunately, not in support. After witnessing racist comments and threats launched at the representatives from X-Bow and at city personnel, it was apparent that X-Bow would not be choosing Marlin. And they did not. Although these comments were made by individuals who live outside of the Marlin city limits, their actions were a direct reflection on the City of Marlin as a disrespectful, racist community that does not want growth or change within it. The silence from those who lived within the city all but confirmed this sentiment. They did not even hear the presentation before voicing their pre-conceived notions about what they thought this company would do. Even after their questions were answered, the group continued its disruptive accusations of corruption, environmental destruction, livestock infringement, and racially motivated comments and attacks.
The effects of last night will have far-reaching effects on Marlin’s future. The negative aura that previously surrounded Marlin has returned in one night. Marlin had the opportunity of a lifetime and the antics of a few killed an opportunity for many present and future Marlinites. The news of those antics has already reached far and wide. We have become the laughingstock of surrounding communities who would have welcomed this opportunity with open arms. The mindset that has existed in this community and has caused its decline was on full display last night as this multi-million-dollar company was forced to look elsewhere. So, what does that tell any future potential employer looking to take advantage of the Economic Opportunity Zone and the Energy and Biomedical Corridor that runs through Marlin? That Marlin is not a welcoming place for companies that do business with the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy. This is a reflection on us all and we should all be outraged that this is now how we are viewed.
What many do not realize or fail to look at, however you want to phrase it, is that major employers create a major impact on your community. Not only do they bring in new residents to your town, but those residents also buy homes, pay taxes, shop, buy gas, eat, attend the local school, etc. The local citizens who are hired also buy homes in the community and pay taxes. As the major business ramps up operations, more restaurants and other businesses move to the area because you now have a workforce demographic to support it. As the taxes and water sales increase, this increases the money you have available to fix your streets. You have money available to hire more city workers to work on streets and other projects without having to try to stretch the few you currently have so thin. Progress is seldom ever immediate. But continued progress over time will result in the revitalization that Marlinites say they want to see. One thing I can assure each of you, if you do not start getting involved, you are going to look around and Marlin will look like some of the other surrounding communities that were thriving once upon a time and now are not. Is that what we really want for Marlin?