Homegrown Expansion . . . - The Missourian: Opinion

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Homegrown Expansion . . .

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Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013 6:32 pm

The approval of the issuance of bonds for Melton Machine & Control expansion is what today is called a “no-brainer.” The Washington City Council approved $5 million in tax exempt bonds for the company that is expanding and moving a company it acquired into the former Harman plant in the Heidmann Industrial Park.

The Melton expansion is a prime example that points to job growth through expansion programs by our existing industries. We don’t have exact numbers, but we’d wager that the majority of new jobs created here and elsewhere in this area have come from industries through their expansion programs over a number of years. For instance, Melton has been in Washington since 1975. The company, which now is employee owned, was founded in St. Louis in 1970. Over the years, Melton has had steady growth.

Washington’s second largest employer, the Sporlan Division of Parker-Hanifan, is another company that has grown over the years and created many new jobs. The same could be said of a number of other local industries, which have had steady growth, resulting in additional jobs here.

That speaks well of the industrial climate here and elsewhere in this area. Companies have enjoyed success in the environment here. It also speaks well of the work force and leadership in the companies.

Landing a new industry today can be very difficult. To begin with, the economy being what it is, relocations of industries has slowed. There have been startups, but not that many. It takes vision honed by experience, financing, a strong business plan, talent and a non-risk-fearing mindset to engineer a startup company today. It always has been a challenge to start a new company, but that challenge is greater today.

Why keep seeking new job-creating industries?

The reason is readily apparent. You never know when a company may be sold, combined with other operations elsewhere, slowed by competition, affected by changes in the marketplace, technological advances that renders obsolete a product line, and other factors found in the economy today. We have experienced plant closures, layoffs and other factors that cause companies to make changes, affecting jobs. Experience has taught us that it’s important to have ongoing efforts to spur economic development.

When you look at the commercial developments that have occurred in the Washington area the past two decades, it’s nothing short of phenomenal. This type of growth has created many jobs. They have added much to the local economy. The city has benefited by sales taxes paid by shoppers and restaurant goers.

A stagnate community results if there is no growth, no annexation, no affordable housing and if there is a governing body that lacks vision.

/opinion

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