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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Community growth is everyone's job

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Wednesday's announcement that Essex Wire may soon be closing their Sikeston operation is anything but good news. Essex, and its predecessor Triangle Wire, have been excellent corporate neighbors and active within the community. Their workforce is important to our community in countless ways.

From what I understand, the decision to close the Sikeston plant is being made because of reasons far beyond our local control. But that is more often the case than not. A community can do only so much to help retain an industry and, for the most part, I believe we actively work with local industry to meet their needs as best a local community can.

Sikeston clearly needs an infusion of jobs. On that point there is universal agreement. But as I've said in this column on numerous occasions, the competition for industrial jobs is intense across the country. Foreign competition and a slow economy combine to move more jobs in this nation than any other factors. We've seen it before and we may well see it again.

Sikeston has much to offer in ways of attracting business and industry. We have an active economic development office and we have the support of the city and others in this communitywide effort. But let's not kid ourselves. Other communities by the thousands are competing for the same industrial jobs. That makes the odds of success more difficult.

My pitch remains the same today as it has for years. We need jobs to bring newcomers to Sikeston. We need their kids in our school system. We need their private pay insurance coverage to utilize our medical community. We need their paychecks to support the retail community. And we need them to benefit from the housing available here in Sikeston. But wishing won't make it so. It takes work. And a great deal of luck.

As ironic as it may sound, Sikeston is one industry away from a crisis and one industry away from a growth spurt. Another announcement of a closing and we're in trouble. One announcement of a new industry locating here and we're poised for some growth. That's how delicate the balance is within small communities such as ours.

It's time for all of the citizens of Sikeston to join hands and actively work to attract newcomers to our community. You may think you have nothing to offer but that may not be the case. From time to time, you might hear of an opportunity concerning a business. And by bringing that news to city officials, you might just open the door for a dialogue with a new business or industry. That's where the entire community can play a role.

For now we express our regrets that Essex is apparently leaving. We wish them well. We hope their employees are able to find jobs and remain in our community. We'll do our part to make that happen. Think of ways you can do your part. Right now, that's important to our community.

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