The county commission made a good move when it approved the site plan for Sicamu, Inc., a Venezuela aerosol products company wishing to locate in the vacant Printing House building near Quincy. Now let’s hope the company, with its jobs and payroll, actually locates here. The past couple of promising projects have so far not come to fruition.
This county needs to be more proactive in promoting economic development. Gretna is carrying the torch in that respect with Creek Entertainment and an active involvement in a future Port St. Joe seaport.
There’s money earmarked for economic development in this year’s budget. That’s a good thing. Without an effort there will never be any positive change in our county’s economy and little extra money to spend on needed services. This is a depressed county. Were it not for state government, we’d be completely lost.
It seems at times that some folks in Gadsden County want things to stay the same; but there’s no future in that. Our agriculture industry in the eastern part of the county is all but gone because of higher property values. Tourism is almost nil with nothing much to offer except our lakes and rivers. Gadsden at best is a bedroom community of Tallahassee.
What will change this county are good jobs. If people have an opportunity to work and earn decent livings, maybe they won’t resort to crime, or move away, or go on welfare. I feel our felony problem could be helped if we had employment for our residents. It’s too late for those who are already convicted felons – not many employers will hire them – but a beginning point should be established with the creation of new jobs.
I know that’s easier said than done. That’s why a commitment by our county leadership is needed that from this point on we aggressively seek opportunities for employers to locate in our county without unreasonable stipulations like having to hire a certain number of Gadsden Countians, particularly felons. We must have a vision that eventually, if not initially, the newly created jobs will be filled by Gadsden residents. We have the resources available through TCC, GTI, Lively and Workforce Plus to custom-train our workforce for almost any type business.
When good, potential employers show interest in Gadsden County, we should take a positive approach and not be adversarial as we vet these companies. We should objectively and factually weigh the pros and cons in making decisions. Otherwise we’ll wallow near the poverty level, never gaining ground on the rest of the state and country. It takes sticking our neck out. Jackson County pledged millions to attract and then land a huge Family Dollar distribution center several years ago. As much as some would have us believe, Gadsden was never considered for the center because of our blasé, even sometimes hostile attitude toward economic development.
Maybe the Sicamu approval is a change in that attitude.