06/29/06 — Wayne-onomics: A lot of factors go into making county a magnet for business

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Wayne-onomics: A lot of factors go into making county a magnet for business

The news that Andrew Corp. is not coming to Wayne County after all was a blow. No one is going to argue that point.

We were probably all looking forward to seeing some new construction and some new jobs at the county’s industrial park.

But now that the company is not coming, and we are back to looking for new industrial clients again — not that the Wayne County Economic Development Corp. ever stopped, maybe it is time to think about what we need to do as a county to attract more interest and to be more competitive in the attracting new industry game.

The truth is, shell buildings alone do not bring companies flocking to an area — and neither do reams of economic incentives.

There is some luck involved, of course. If Toyota is looking to expand its North American operations and you are located in an area that has a ready and willing workforce, top state incentives and a large piece of land, you are halfway up the hill in the battle for new jobs.

As Wayne County and Goldsboro finish up their budgeting work, and the talk turns again to schools, neighborhoods and the future, we need to make plans with competitiveness and economic development in mind.

There are infrastructure problems and image issues in the county and city. Our school situation is critical and a problem when we are stacked up against counties like Johnston and Wake. We do have some more work to do on our roadways — and we should continue to have an aggressive stance when it comes to improving the appeal of our downtown area, as well as our recreation opportunities.

And then there are the state incentives. We already have people working on it, but if more lobbying is needed — or a visit to local legislators to remind them of the importance of making North Carolina competitive would help — we need to push to make that happen.

The key to a successful future for any county is not just roads, parks, schools and tax breaks. Some of it is attitude, too, and making sure all the factors are in place when a potential industrial client comes to town.

Wayne County officials, Goldsboro’s leadership as well as the community who elects them should be thinking now about the next phase for keeping this county alive and prospering, well into the future. Let’s get to work.

Published in Editorials on June 29, 2006 11:07 AM