Economic growth should be purposeful, not impossibleIn light of these shaky economic times, it’s tempting to settle for simply toeing the line, sitting tight and not making any fast moves. But while that kind of conservative thinking may seem prudent, it will get us exactly – nowhere.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
In light of these shaky economic times, it’s tempting to settle for simply toeing the line, sitting tight and not making any fast moves. But while that kind of conservative thinking may seem prudent, it will get us exactly – nowhere.
Savings stuffed away into a mattress may feel secure for the moment, but it will never grow to the extent we need it to in order survive. Likewise, while some may lobby to impose a moratorium on growth in our schools, cities and county in the name of fiscal conservatism during tough times, that sort of thinking isn’t necessarily in the best interest of the public good.
A number of major building projects are currently on the auction block awaiting either funding, public support or administrative backing. While some stand to impact taxpayers in a major way, others will have little impact on the pocketbooks of anyone but private business people.
The common denominator in all of this should be purposeful, well-thought-out growth – not simply a last-ditch effort to secure funding before it’s gone, or to jump on the bandwagon of economic development in order to keep up with someone else’s idea of progress.
Several of the administrators, government heads and business people of Carlton County are currently engaged in just such a purposeful, forward-thinking approach toward growth. Under the auspices of a program pioneered by the University of Minnesota Extension Service, a retail “gap” analysis has been conducted to target just what and where the demand for certain types of business expansion lies, as well as how strong the current supply is. Though hard and fast economic data is at the heart of the study, area officials and business people have also played a key role in extrapolating that data to address the “people factor” with which they are the most familiar as it pertains to our particular county.
It’s a well-thought-out, intentional process that keeps “knee jerk” expansion activity to a minimum and prudent economic development to a maximum.
It also provides a business model which other private and public economic development entities would be well advised to consider.