Sunday, August 04, 2013

Economic development study offers tough lessons for counties

by By Ralph Davis

PRESTONSBURG — Local government officials and economic development experts got some tough love Wednesday, when the results of an eight-month study of regional recruitment efforts were revealed.

Insite Consulting, out of Greer, S.C., which specializes in economic development, site selection and real estate services, was hired by Kentucky Power late last year to study and make recommendations about economic development efforts in Floyd, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin and Pike counties. Their findings, delivered by Insite princpals Rob Cornwell and Tonya Crist during a luncheon at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, were not pretty.

Local leaders were taken to the woodshed on almost every point, including a lack of full-time staff devoted to economic development, a lack of industrial recruitment websites to let the world know of opportunities in the area, an unwillingness to spend any funds except coal severance tax on economic development, a lack of suitable industrial sites, an inability to handle requests from companies seeking information, a lack of a centralized database listing available assets, and a pervasive atmosphere of county-to-county competition. More here.

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