Archive for Sunday, July 13, 2008

When opportunity knocks

Having a special nest egg for economic development could open up new opportunities for the community.

July 13, 2008


This may not be the year for county officials to create a special economic development fund, but it's good that Douglas County commissioners are looking at this idea. Having even a moderate pool of money set aside for this purpose could allow Lawrence and Douglas County to take advantage of opportunities to bring more jobs to the area.

Because commissioners had earlier expressed interest in such a fund, County Administrator Craig Weinaug put forth the possibility of setting aside $750,000. Commissioner Bob Johnson upped that figure a little by suggesting that the county establish a policy that sets aside 1 mill each year for an economic development fund. That currently would raise about $1.1 million. The fund Johnson envisioned would be used for industrial site development, biosciences development and marketing by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

Commissioners Charles Jones and Jere McElhaney had valid concerns about Johnson's idea. McElhaney wanted a firmer basis on which to decide how much the county should set aside in an economic development fund. That's a reasonable concern given the tight budget the county is working with this year.

Jones said he liked the idea of providing funding for industrial site development but said he was reluctant to provide additional money for chamber of commerce efforts that have been disappointing in recent years. The chamber's need to build confidence in its ability to aggressively lead local economic development efforts is a key factor in this discussion. That confidence currently is lagging among both city and county officials, as well as among a good share of area residents, making it more likely that even if additional economic development funding is approved, the city and county may decide to retain increased control of that money.

The good news is that county officials are focused on the need to go the extra mile - as other communities are doing - to be ready to respond to economic development opportunities. Nothing will be more important to the future of this community than to create new jobs for people who live here. There is little doubt that higher gasoline prices will force many people to live closer to their workplaces, which isn't good news for a city that has as many commuters as Lawrence does.

Maybe this isn't the right time to dedicate tight tax revenues to a new economic development fund. It could be that economic woes across the nation will make this a difficult time to attract new business and jobs even with additional funds. However, county commissioners are on the right track - a track that two new commissioners who will be elected in November should take note of - when they look at ways to make sure we are ready when economic opportunity knocks.


Stephen Roberts 9 years, 10 months ago

Putting money aside for development is crazy talk for Merrill, spiderman and their merry bunch of PLC Buddies. I am suprised that group hasn't asked the city to give money to the MERC.Having money set aside is a good idea, a lot better idea than Merrill's famous cut a nd pastes.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

at this idea. Having even a moderate pool of money set aside for this purpose could allow Lawrence and Douglas County to take advantage of opportunitiesto bring more jobs to the area.---the award-winning this idea. Having even a moderate pool of money set aside for this purpose could allow Lawrence and Douglas County to take advantage of opportunitiesto bring more jobs to the area.note, the hypocrisy in this statement of concern for local jobs just stinks to high heaven! first, the paper has given lots of support through their coverage to the perminent protestor class in this community, validating their nonsense; they have the right to speak, to try to influence government, but they don't have the right to always appear in glowing coverage in this newspaper!second, all this concern about local jobs hmmmmm? yet, through their little side comments it has become painfully obvious that the editorial staff at the ljworld is opposed to proper border enforcement, and crackdowns on illegal aliens and their employers. in other words, they are open-borders believers! how can they so sanctimoniously write such an editorial like this, while endorsing the human invasion that lowers the pay for many jobs in several occupations, displaces legal americans and burdens our emergency rooms, jails/prisons, and schools! I say Hypocrisy! if they really cared about jobs, they'd want to stop the degredation of pay and employment. this, in fact, hits legal immigrants and low-education attainment native born americans the hardest! hypocrisy!

Flap Doodle 9 years, 10 months ago

I just got this:Message from spiderman via LJWorld.comFrom: no-reply@www2.ljworld.comSent: Sun 7/13/08 3:19 PMTo: **@*****Hello, The user spiderman sent the following message to you via ============================== please stop emailing your posts to me. ============================== Please do not reply to this e-mail message. To send spiderman a response, visit this Web page:Strangely enough, I've never sent spiderham an email. Emailing posts is what he does. There hasn't been a new post on spiderham's private 'forum' since June 24.That ain't cool.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

merrill is a great example of someone that puts good infor out there as is max 1.---rotflmaolmaolmao, again!Oh! Good God! is this a comedy act?merrill who is on the traffic safety commission, helped bring roundabouts, opposes driving! wants us to have rolling blackouts to save electricity!and maxy1,you get him away from his inane posting of out-of-context, out-of-date, irrelevant links/web material...when you get him outa that and he has to type for himself, you discover he is a very dim bulb indeed! and, he slimed me on one of the 1300 block of delaware shoot threads, as I was simply noting the seriousness of two young men dying suddenly. Spiderman, citing maxy1 is not helpful...I have heard from other posters they were shocked at maxy1 sliming me that way. spidey, citing merrill and maxy1 does not help your case! furthermore, it is obvious you are opposing: wharehouse jobs (i.e. american eagle); research jobs (you and your buddies drove out deciphera); manufacturing jobs (can we say "living wage farce" anybody?). so, "healthy growth really means no-growth, or rather, lets shrink and try to return lawrence to what it was like in the '60s!

BigPrune 9 years, 10 months ago

Until Lawrence stops listening to the creepy old hippies, even proposing to divy up economic development dollars to give to these weirdos so they have some subsidized off the tax rolls forever green areas, the local economy will not turn around. The PLC mindset is still strongly entrenched at City Hall, and until the current City Commission grows the cajones and overturns some of the policies enacted by the last contingent of kooky thinkers, Lawrence will not turn around for the better.

yellowhouse 9 years, 10 months ago

They should just borrow the money from the City! After all they had 6 million dollars to spend on the Yellow House case!

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

because that study was full of bull byproduct. we need the slt to get a lot of traffic off of 23rd. and your ref is not valid. it is still "corporate welfare. and was that spiderman or cool that reffed that? indeed, the plc/gra/IMPAC are still very much with us. they're the reason we have broken streets, and new shiney roundabouts that nobody needs. spiderman, show one development initiative for this area you/gra/plc/IMPAC have actually supported? I'll happily crank up the crickets' sound effect!

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

the chamber would be more successful if we didn't have a perminent protestor class/gra/IMPAC/spiderman people who oppose any development! immediately, this is labeled corporate welfare, but because his plan would involve organics, it isn't? does spiderman/unCool think there's gonna be a nonprofit set up to run that operation he describes? really!

Flap Doodle 9 years, 10 months ago

spiderham needs to calm down & go get a popsicle. It's a cool and fruity treat on a hot summer day.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

all right, snappy, I'm getting spiderman/unCool's e-mails too. if I get one more, its going directly to system admin spiderman! so, spiderman, you really are Cool your actions demonstrate that! Farmer's Market downtown !we all love it ! and shop there with our dollars.ROTFLMAOLMAOLMAOLMAOLMAO!!!!!!oh, spiderhooey, that was so d----d funny! the farmers' market as development! your ref to healthy growth says it all! yeah, I got you pegged. btw i shop at the farmers' market too, and appreciate it very much. however, it is not major economic development! like i wrote before, Cool, you are a parody of a person! omg! 'the farmers' market'! rotflmao!!!so, snappy, how much longer you think the "spiderman" identity will last on here before being disappeareded? shall we take bets.I give it two days. it is sunday after all.

Stephen Roberts 9 years, 10 months ago

Spiderman- Why don't you just go out and "develop organic & sustainable farming & agriculture in Douglas County" yourself? Are you afraid of taking a financial risk? or would you rather make the government do it for you? People like you have no clue how much it costs to move or expand a business. I work for a company that was moving 10 miles- small office of 12 at the time. It costs over $100,000 just to move and get the office ready. This didn't include the new lease, time spent to plan the move and get re set up.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 10 months ago

The plan sounds like pie in the sky thinking. It is political rhetoric. That money would be better spent repairing and improving current infrastructure instead of permitting further wear and tear. Invest in the current community. Douglas county cannot afford new infrastructure or ideas that have nothing behind them.

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