The question now in our thinking: "How, together, can we not only
survive, but prosper in the end?"
None of those sad news stories
were our fault. In the case of Papa John's, a corporate decision
closed the location. The entire chain of Goody's simply is being
liquidated, amidst several reports that the Lincoln store didn't do
that badly. Eaton's cutbacks should have been expected. A factory
that supplies components to a disastrously slumping building
industry had to eventually join the slide in the supplier-related
labor force. Building across the country will resume as the economic
We have made some solid inroads this past year. A wind farm gave
a huge injection of cash in just building permits, in addition to
further economic benefits in ensuing years. The word of a basement
waterproofing company locating here with several dozen good jobs
would be a real win. Several new businesses also have opened in our
town, and we should thank them for their faith in us, not only as
consumers, but also as a great labor force.
In the last few years our city and county officials again and
again have worked through some complicated business development
scenarios that have shown they are willing to do what it takes to
make this a great place for businesses to locate. We should thank
We also have two agencies supporting business retention,
expansion and attraction. The Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of
Commerce and the Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership work
together with our government leaders. There have been numerous
successes in recent history and a lot of potential for near future
developments. Each agency has bright, energetic directors. Both
groups have positioned us well. We should thank the volunteers on
We have the necessary economic development tools in place that
are now required to qualify for state and federal resources. A few
years ago the Logan County Regional Planning Commission gave us a
new Comprehensive Plan, which is a guide to steer growth. The
Lincoln and Logan County Development Partnership led the second part
of that process, the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.
The recent move to join a regional effort by having our CEDS
piggybacked to the Peoria region has strengthened our position in
seeking state and federal funds for development.
We are certain that as the year progresses we will hear of other
new and positive enterprises coming to our county. They will be
needed. Not just to create new jobs for our youth, but also to help
keep good workers, good neighbors and good friends from having to
pack up and leave us to find work elsewhere that would support their
families. Yes, we might in effect be treading the economic waters
for a while, but in a time when communities across the country are
sinking, these new enterprises will keep us viable and strong and
ready to stand in the forefront of new growth when the economy
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You can be sure that in these next few years there will be more
trying and worrisome news in our local economy. We have learned, if
we didn't know already, that we are not immune to the problems
facing our country right now. We also should have learned that
this community can do extraordinary things when we join together.
And, join together again to help our economy is exactly what we must
In a day and age when we will be cutting back on how many times
we dine out, we should make sure we dine out locally.
In a time when every durable goods purchase must be made
judiciously and deemed as necessary, we should make sure we do all
we can to make those purchases within our county.
We live in an age when Internet sales rule in growth over
brick-and-mortar stores. We must ask ourselves if purchasing
something over the Web from a company half a country away is in our
best interest, when what will help us in the long run more would be
going to a local merchant and paying a few cents more in
sales tax that would return dollars to our local governments.
We also need to remember as we work that in these times we owe
our best effort to our employers. It is this effort, this pride in
how we work that created the world's greatest economy. This American
work ethic is something we need to not only remember, but to embody
and to emulate as we go to a job that is still there when millions
of Americans across the country can no longer do the same.
We need to gather ourselves together, perhaps as never before, to
help each other survive these times. We need to keep this question
in our minds as we spend our dollars cautiously in these days to
come: "Whose job in Logan County might I be able to help save?"
That thinking is important because others in our community might be
thinking right now of how they can help save yours.
We are in this together, now more than ever. And it is
together that we will come out of this better and stronger than ever
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