Washington, unlike many other cities its size, has experienced continuous industrial growth for decades.

The next chapter in this remarkable story is about to be written as the city recently announced it is moving forward in buying land for its sixth industrial park, on the south side of Highway 100 near the Heidmann Industrial Park.

The city is expected to acquire the new park site, 115 acres, later this month.

Some may wonder why the city is pursuing a new industrial park in the midst of a national labor shortage that is especially acute in this area.

The reason is that Washington has adopted a proactive approach to industrial development. It is a strategy that recognizes that all communities experience changes that affect industries, technology and land use, and the best way to adapt to these changes is to not stand still but actively engage with and encourage new businesses and manufacturers to locate or expand here. Keep moving forward, or stagnate.

A key component of that strategy requires shovel-ready building sites and infrastructure. That neccessitates being aggressive in identifying and developing new areas for industrial parks. The strategy has worked, as Washington’s five industrial parks are each near or at capacity.

The city and its partners in industrial development efforts, the 353 Redevelopment Corp., an arm of the city; the Civic Industrial Corp., a private entity; the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce; and the Industrial Development Authority, have worked well together to support industrial growth and to ensure Washington remains economically resilient.

Few towns Washington’s size have this kind of focused and coordinated industrial development effort. We owe all of these entities, most of which are comprised of volunteers, a debt of gratitude.

That holds true for the city as well. Without the city’s strong financial support, the industrial growth here would not have continued at its steady pace.

The people and the amenities the community offers also have played a major role in industrial growth. We hear it all the time. One company’s owner said they were impressed by the spirit of volunteerism in the community. Another company official said the redevelopment of the downtown district was a factor in locating here. A long time ago, another owner said the German heritage influenced him to come here because the people here know how to work with their hands and minds. No doubt, the quality of the workforce has been a major factor in the city’s continued growth.

It is appropriate that the new park will be named after Dick Oldenburg, who was Washington’s economic director for 24 years. He epitomized that economic development philosophy. He was one of the good guys and known statewide for his outstanding work in his profession. Naming the new park after him is a fitting tribute to his legacy.