Joining forces

A three-city marketing effort could pay off for local economic development.

A new plan by business leaders in Lawrence, Topeka and Manhattan to forge a combined economic development effort is welcome news.

The three communities all have state-supported universities, but their relatively small size makes it difficult to support major marketing efforts. By joining forces the three Interstate 70 communities should have more marketing clout.

The addition of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan is a major focal point for what state officials hope will be an influx of bioscience-related businesses in Kansas. Efforts to obtain National Cancer Center status at Kansas University Medical Center also are part of the picture. KU and Kansas State University both have important research and commercial ties to the Kansas City area, but it’s also smart for Manhattan, Topeka and Lawrence to launch a marketing effort that is directed toward their own communities.

It may be too soon to think in terms of replicating the famous research triangle in North Carolina, but Kansas is making some important strides. Joining their marketing efforts will help ensure that Lawrence, Topeka and Manhattan get the economic development attention they deserve.