Bravo to our community leaders for not ‘standing still’ on jobs

Published 9:27 am Friday, February 24, 2012

There is a story in today ‘s issue of The Post-Searchlight explaining the approach taken by the Industrial Development Authority to create a strategic plan to grow industry and create jobs.

Everyone involved in this project should be applauded and supported for their efforts to become a bit more proactive, rather than reactive, in attempts to move our community forward. Gaining a consensus from the various committees of what is needed and the best avenue to get where we as community want to be is the best way to create a unified effort.

In this day and time, competition for industry and jobs is fierce. The supply of new projects is not near what is used to be, but, because of the economic recession, demand is at an all time high.

There’s an old saying that rings true in just about every situation—“there’s no such thing as standing still, you’re either moving forward or you’re falling behind.” Rick McCaskill, Keith Lyle, Charles Tyson, and everyone else involved in this effort have made it their goal to not stand still.

As part of this effort, the city is currently studying the possibility of utilizing the help of an outside company, Buxton Group based in Ft. Worth, Texas, to provide analytical data and information to better position Bainbridge to attract new retail operations.

While still very early in the decision-making process of whether or not to go forward with Buxton, indications are that their product would go a long way in helping Bainbridge fill gaps in our retail market.

The collaborative effort of every major stakeholder in the growth of Bainbridge and Decatur County puts our chance for success much higher than the singular efforts of individuals.

While it would be nice to attract a Caterpillar plant, or a Kia automotive plant, or a huge distribution center, thus projects are once-in-a-lifetime type projects that are extremely limited. We are much better poised for success if we determine what we want and hunt with a rifle, a more narrow focused approach, than with a blast of a shotgun.

It has been about two years since Corrections Corporation of America signed the agreement with the IDA to locate a private corrections facility in Bainbridge.  From the beginning, the CCA representatives have said that it could be a slow process to actually begin groundbreaking and construction of the facility.

I have heard some in the community doubt whether the facility will ever be built. I have no doubt that the facility will be here and will be a great corporate community citizen for years to come. The only thing missing for this project to become a reality is an executed contract for CCA to house inmates from either the federal government or a state department of corrections.

When that happens, you should see groundbreaking in short order.

CCA is a publicly traded company and has already spent considerable money in engineering and preparing the building site. Such companies aren’t in the business of spending money if they’re not completely sure of a project going forward.

Hopefully, we will soon see a break with the CCA project and, hopefully, this will be the impetus to further growth and job creation in our community.

Jeff Findley is the publisher of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at jeff.findley@thepostsearchlight.com.