With a new economic development director on board in Sikeston as of this week, it's time for the entire community to think creatively of ways to attract industry and retail growth to our community. That creative thinking may require revenue and it may require sacrifice. But without this strong effort, I fear our efforts will face an uphill battle.
The first phase of economic development is simply to get our house in order. That includes the on-going effort of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority and the efforts of private developers to take the lead. In so many ways, those efforts are under way. But much remains to be done before we can be fully proud of the welcome mat we offer to new residents or businesses.
The city and the Board of Municipal Utilities must continue their combined efforts to fund the needs of our community in attracting these new residents. If that means a bigger slice of the budget pie, then so be it. Money that brings business and industry here is money well spent.
And as everyone knows, the days of sitting back and waiting for an industry to choose our community are long gone. We have to recruit business. In that highly competitive field today that means soliciting industry, offering them the incentives required to select our town and then following up on the promises we made. In other words, it takes a strong sales effort.
In some ways the final piece to this puzzle will come during the upcoming elections when we select people who will be proactive toward business and not accept the status quo. We need people in office who see the merits of attracting business even if that means spending money that is currently earmarked elsewhere. And as much as I abhor more taxes, it may take financial sacrifice from each of us to offer the incentives required to bring business here.
The elements for growth are now in place. We can and should expect results.