Big bet means big loss |

Big bet means big loss

It has been nearly six years since this newspaper warned the county of the dangers of entering into a $24.7 million redevelopment deal to build 30,000 square feet of commercial space.

On Thursday, county commissioners voted to approve a settlement that erased the deal, but left the large pile of dirt that greets motorists entering Douglas County from the north using Highway 395.

Coming up with a solution for what can only be considered redevelopment’s blast pattern is the next step in negotiations over the property that was supposed to be another mall.

The original redevelopment deal was a bad one. The county gave away far too much to get far too little.

But the real issue for us at the time the deal was struck was the intrusion of the government into the free market.

By providing redevelopment money to the site’s developers, the county was picking one set of businesses over others. Until Riverwood, Douglas County redevelopment was wildly successful. But we liken that to a gambler on a streak.

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Hitting a couple of jackpots doesn’t mean the next pull will be a winner. In this case, the failure was spectacular.

We’re pleased that a settlement has been reached, and our sincerest hope is that the giant pile of dirt in the north has taught us an important lesson. The thing about betting is that the more you bet, the more it hurts if you lose.

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