Someday, future Sikeston residents will look back on this week as an important turning point in the history of this community. The announcement of a new industry here is not just welcome news, it's the type of news that can jettison a community to a higher quality of life.
The long-anticipated announcement that Orgill Inc. will locate a massive 795,000 square-foot distribution center in Sikeston and consolidate two of their existing plants is the "shot in the arm" that Sikeston has needed for quite some time.
With a projected $12 million payroll, this new industry will help to lift our community into the future. And located in the Sikeston Industrial Park, this new firm will join our other corporate neighbors to form a rejuvenated workforce and bring some much-needed jobs to our community.
Sikeston was poised for this project on several fronts. We cannot discount the benefit of our location nor can we discount the advantage of having a progressive Board of Municipal Utilities that can promise low-cost and reliable energy. And the cooperation among several government entities to make this possible was another important ingredient in this announcement.
Ed Dust, Sikeston's economic developer, has toiled countless hours, not just on this project, but on others as well. His tireless efforts - combined with a strong City Council - were the catalyst that brought this project to our community. Many of us are guilty of wanting instant results on the economic development front. But that is not the nature of the beast. Instead the role of economic developer is one who fosters long-term relationships and constant contacts. At some point, this effort pays off. Our day in the sun came this week.
Some credit also should flow to the efforts in the past to develop our Industrial Park. Without that massive tract of land available, none of this would be possible. Or at the very least, it would have been much more difficult to accomplish, especially given the timeframe under which Orgill Inc. was operating.
Mayor Mike Marshall - once again - has proven his leadership abilities by engaging in this project from day one. His efforts should be commended as well as the entire City Council and city staff.
And I have to believe that our ongoing efforts to remove problem properties and problem citizens played a role in this decision as well. It's hard to convince anyone to locate here if our community is a crime-infested eyesore. But thanks to countless people, we're at long last turning the corner on that problem.
Regardless of the credit, let's hope that the eventual 350-person workforce at Orgill is populated with ample Sikeston residents as well as others throughout the region. We hope people move here to work at this new complex, buy homes here, put their kids in school here, take advantage of our medical facilities and become a part of the fabric of this community.
We can now all join in with our city leaders and proclaim ourselves "Sikeston Proud."