The economy appears to be improving somewhat based on prospects that have contacted the Missouri Partnership, an agency spokesperson working with the Missouri Department of Economic Development said.

Christopher Chung of the Missouri Partnership told the Washington 353 Redevelopment Corporation Wednesday that the agency has about a third more prospects it is working with now than it had last year at this time.

It had 62 prospects last year. If the state gets 10 percent of the number of prospects, it’s a good year.

The Missouri Partnership is funded 80 percent by the state and 20 percent by private financing, and its role is to help bring new or expanding companies to Missouri. In other words, job creation is its primary mission.

Franklin County has one of the assets that is important in industrial development — highway accessibility.  Other important factors are a skilled labor force, cost of labor, cost and availability of real estate, incentives, educational opportunities, cost of energy and taxes. Many prospects are looking for existing buildings. A greenfield location is another factor.

Franklin County has all of the requirements companies seek when they consider expanding or building. The county’s location in the St. Louis metro area also is a plus. Locations that have a good quality of living standard also will be found in Franklin County. We have quality industrial sites, especially in Washington and Union, which have the needed services.

We are optimistic that more industries are going to find a home in Franklin County. We have a lot going for us. The Missouri Partnership can help direct prospects to this area. It is promoting an awareness of the entire state, but we have some advantages that other areas don’t have. That gives us an edge.

We are optimistic about job creation in this area.