Prior to leaving office as Freeport’s Community Development Director, Shelly Griswold, as one of her last acts signed Freeport up for a new Obama Administration Program entitled “Rural Growth Initiative for the 21st Century” (RGI-21). The purpose of the program is to promote rural areas and put them on an equal footing with urban areas where there has been substantial population growth. Economic development funds are usually tied in with the population of an area. Since rural areas have been losing population, it has put then at a disadvantage when compared to growing urban areas. To rectify this inequity, President Obama by Executive Order has mandated that in rural areas for every one deer, ten people will be added to the area’s population. Since the City of Freeport has an abundance of deer, over 5,000 people will be added to its population for purposes of RGI-21.
Mayor Gitz when asked to comment stated: “I want to thank the people of Freeport for opening up their yards this winter so the deer could have an abundance of food. I realize that the landscaping has been destroyed in many yards, but that is a small price to pay to take care of Bambi and her friends. The good news is that the deer population will again increase substantially this year. Tom Klemm and other council members have been out counting the pregnant does, and they have advised me that we should see another 20-30% increase in the deer population. I understand that there is a feeling in the community that there are too many deer, but I want to emphasize that the deer are one of the keys to our future economic development. The Chief of Police has been instructed to arrest and prosecute anyone who intentionally interferes with the eating and mating habits of the deer in the City of Freeport. Such conduct as chasing the deer out of your yard in the middle of their afternoon feeding time will not be tolerated.”