Friday, October 02, 2009

Economic development leaders discuss future of Marathon County

by Colby Robertson

MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) -- Leaders throughout Marathon County are trying to figure out ways to bring more jobs and businesses to our area.

It's all in an effort to improve the area economy.

The group is trying to figure out what puts Marathon County ahead of other communities.

Because once they figure out that marketing tool, the hope is that the area's economy will thrive.

David Eckmann, Economic Development Director of MCDECVO says, "We have no discernible marketing piece at this point in time for our region and we need to start tooting our horn because we have a heck of a lot to offer."

It's that attitude that is driving leaders of the Marathon County Economic Development Corporation, also known as MCDEVCO.

It's a public private partnership that builds on the business community in hopes of providing jobs. Eckmann says the key to moving forward in this economy is to build on what Marathon County already has to offer.

Eckmann says, "We have a strong manufacturing base here we have a strong history in agriculture and we have to build on those and it's transitioning from where we are today and taking our manufacturing base to advance manufacturing, taking our agriculture to advanced agricultural opportunities."

But some are skeptical of the price tag associated with the plan. Half a million dollars annually over the next five years; most of it coming out of the taxpayers pocket.

County Board Member Joanne Leonard says, "It's a very comprehensive plan, but with limited resources and dollars today we need to be very focused in terms of seeing results, because results in economic development take a long time."

]But MCDEVCO leaders say in order to stay competitive we can't sit back and wait for the tough times to pass.

Eckmann says, "We are in competition with these other communities that are like us. Everyone can offer quality of life, but every community has a quality of life, so what we have to do is offer a quality of life to the skilled workforce that we want to attract here, that creativity."

No comments: