As our county commissioners pursue the notion of finding money somewhere, somehow to create an economic development office with a director, those of us looking on need to realize that even if sufficient money is found, and even if the right person can be hired to carry the Marion County banner into the fray of future fortune, we need to remind ourselves that results in the economic development game are rarely dramatic or quickly forthcoming for small rural towns like ours in Marion County.

Even when a community has established an industrial park and hired and economic development person, it hardly stands on the threshold of affluence. Why? Almost every small town has done the same thing. Sure, offering tax abatements is a way to entice businesses-but everybody’s doing that, too. A community with a high quality of life is great-but not all that unusual.

So, what gets the attention of companies who are looking for new places to settle? Cash. And plenty of it. A friend who lives in a neighboring state said his town-one not much bigger than Hillsboro-wrote a check for more than $1 million to get a company to come. Straight up cash.

It’s a sobering question to ask how feasible it is that we can be an effective player in that kind of game. But it’s also a reminder to keep encouraging and growing our own local industries. Hillsboro has a successful industrial park, but look at the tenants. Almost all started their businesses here and started small. And then they grew up along side us.

Who says charity shouldn’t begin at home? -DR

More from article archives
Centre seniors Mueller and Luna nominated for ‘Heisman Award’
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN Centre High School seniors Kevin Mueller and Alyssa Luna have...
Read More