FISHING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT…The connection between fishing and economic development here is really metaphorical. PCDA has seen a number of leads recently that want big, big things. Is it real or are some companies simply throwing a line into the water to see what’s there and/or what a community is willing to do to attract them? Companies often will contact economic development organizations like PCDA and say that they want, for example, 500 acres for a plant that will create 2,500 jobs and will pay big time bucks. Obviously, your friendly neighborhood PCDA is going to jump all over that if we have anything close to what they want. It is the “what they want” that is sometimes telling.
Cont. from newsletter……We’re not talking about incentives, here…that conversation will happen down the road if it goes that far. What they generally start with are the basics. They may start by asking if there are large numbers of unemployed AND a big parcel of land AND a rail spur to that parcel of land AND a power grid that can supply a tremendous amount of electricity AND more water than a community has access to AND, AND AND.
The moral of our story is two fold. The first is that companies look for specific things first. They don’t look for a community first and then see if that community has specific things. Do you have, they may ask, 2,500 people looking for work that have the specific skill sets the company is seeking? Does your community have 500 acres that you own to just give to my company? Do you have access to an ongoing supply of water that would double what Ponca City currently uses? Are you willing to have your environment degraded so that we can create 50 new jobs?
You get the idea. The second moral is that even if you have those things AND are willing to give up (or tolerate) those things, the economic environment may cause the company to reconsider and not do the project at all. At the end of the day, most leads are really companies thinking about what they might want to do, not commitments (yet) to do it.