Positive attitude plays key role
Economic development is certainly not an easy task, especially during these economic depressed times that we see facing our entire nation today.
Now, with that negative comment out of the way, let us focus on the “positive” aspects and build a better and brighter future.
Over the past several years we have seen areas of growth, which create jobs throughout Ironton and Lawrence County. It doesn’t matter so much where they are located within the city or county as long as they are located here.
I firmly believe that when new jobs are created in Lawrence County it benefits all of us. When new jobs are created in Ironton it benefits all of us.
In the past four years I have seen a partnership develop between the city and county that I did not see in the past.
Sure, those of us who live in the city want to see new jobs created here. I certainly want to see jobs created in Ironton as well. I know folks who live in the county want to see jobs created near their residence. That is to be expected and I support that as well.
We have to remember that we all are in this together and together we can make a difference. Is it easy? The answer to that is No. Economic development takes time, hard work, long hours, persistence and, yes, money.
I encourage you to take a look around Ironton and Lawrence County and see for yourself the growth and job creation that has occurred in the past four years.
I know some skeptics will only ponder on the closing of businesses in Ironton and Lawrence County. That is a given.
I refuse to sit back and respond in a negative manner. What good will come from that? To me it is a waste of time and energy that we could be using in a “positive” manner.
Sure it is unfortunate to see businesses closing in the city and county but we cannot stand around and allow this to stop what we are committed to do. That is creating jobs for our citizens, children and grandchildren.
There are many reasons why businesses close. There are also many reasons why businesses open, expand and create jobs. We must reach out and offer potential services to businesses that are contemplating closing and we must offer potential services to new businesses interested in locating as well as current businesses expanding in our area.
I believe we are fortunate for a small river town and county to have two industrial parks in our county. Both have positive attributes to offer and this is another reason why the city and county economic development departments must work together to promote all of the available properties.
I am convinced that this is happening and will continue in the future.
As I stated earlier, economic development takes time, hard work, long hours, persistence and funding. I know that the city and county are doing just that in efforts to bring new jobs while at the same time retaining and expanding businesses already located here.
Recently I attended a trade show that showcased more than 70 companies expressing interest in expanding in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. During conversations with many of the company representatives I became educated on exactly what these companies are looking for in terms of location, population, access to major highways and so on. These components play a key role in the decision making process whether or not to locate to certain areas.
The truth is, my attendance and efforts in this trade show may not produce any new businesses to our area, this time.
The “positive” side to this is that I made many contacts, informed them of what we have to offer and now they know about our area which could lead to new businesses locating here in the future.
Who knows what will happen in the future or during another business trade show when I speak to them again.
Persistence is also a key component in attracting new businesses to our area and I will continue to promote our city and county every chance I get. Economic development also demands funding to attend, prepare and deliver promotional brochures, area information, maps, etc., and we must choose wisely the events to attend that would most likely be beneficial to our area.
The general public may not see or realize the efforts that go into economic development on a daily basis, but I am 100 percent sure that every effort is made in attempts to attract new businesses which create jobs for our city and county daily.
So as we move forward let us all keep the “positive” attitude that will produce results that create jobs for our city and county.
Rich Blankenship is the mayor of the City of Ironton.