Monday, August 28, 2006

Doing it the right way: Newton and Centerville

When I saw this headline:

Knocked down, towns resolve to bounce back
Centerville, Newton aggressively work on ways to offset losses of jobs, plants

I thought the ensuing story would be about corporate incentives and the like, and would make me want to scream. I was pleasantly surprised. Two quotes from the article:

"We can't approach economic development as we have in the past," said Kim Didier, executive director of the Newton Development Corp. "Now, there's an incredible sense of urgency."

Part of Newton's strategy is to provide quality-of-life benefits designed to maintain the community's population, helping to attract retail businesses and new employers. The old economic model emphasized creating jobs to attract people. The new model is to keep and attract people, with the jobs to follow, drawn by a quality work force, Didier said.

I am thoroughly impressed. A big round of applause to Newton and Centerville, who did what our state legislature cannot seem to do: They were hit with a problem, looked at it, and changed their approach to keep it from happening again.


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