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Letter To The Editor - Shell Facility

 

Patrick Wiltshire

LaGrange

 

To the Editor:

I would urge the LaGrange County Council and Board of Commissioners to fully support the LaGrange County RDC proposal to build a shell facility as an economic development initiative to attract good-paying jobs to our area.

I am one who generally feels the free market is the best way to decide whether commercial buildings should be built, as well as where and how big. However, the market for new commercial facilities is one that now includes competing communities in our state and others that are willing to make attractive properties available to employers as way to dramatically reduce the elapsed time (and red-tape) to get a new engineering or production facility up and running.

I'm sure we have many citizens on both sides of this proposal, but unless LaGrange County fully exploits its advantages, such as the Major Moves funds and the Fawn River Crossing Industrial Park, it will continue to fall behind other communities that are willing to do more.

If you hear objections from local commercial real estate developers and builders, I would suggest that the RDC would certainly entertain competitive local alternatives to the Garmong Construction Services proposal. Surely there are enough business leaders in our County who could form a LLC to accomplish the same objectives.

The only two constraints I would put on a deal like this are 1) Go long or stay home. That is, build a facility that is uncompromising in its attraction to prospective employers, and 2) that a prospective employer must be able to commit to the creation of CORE jobs that are family & community sustaining....at least $15/hr, or $30,000/yr, or more. LaGrange County does not need to subsidize the creation of more $9-10/hr jobs. While the old adage that "any job is better than no job" might be true in an individual instance, it is not true for a community at large. $9-10/hrs jobs do not enable people to buy homes, furniture, cars and insurance....and they contribute very little, if any, in tax revenues at the federal, state and local level.