As a longtime advocate for the creation of an economic development strategic plan for Belmont County, I would like to compliment the Belmont County Board of Commissioners, W.S.D.S. Community Action Commission, Inc. of Fremont, Ohio. The members of the Belmont Planning Commission and all others who assisted and participated in the development of this worthwhile document.
Having a business plan to serve as a blueprint to help guide economic development efforts, I believe it is of critical importance and should further enhance such efforts in Belmont County, as I wholeheartedly concur with the sage wisdom of the late college basketball icon John Wooden who had stated: “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”
Such a plan, if well done and timely and properly implemented, should very well have a significant positive impact on the country’s economic prospects.
However, although the recent competition of the aforementioned plan is laudatory, I continue to be disappointed that such services were not competitively procured, as the utilization of the competitive process in such matters would only enhance the prospects that the best and most cost-effective entity is selected. The selection process utilized in this case certainly legal and within prescribed expenditure guidelines but now we will never know if the selected entity was truly the best to provide such services on behalf of the county.
I also remain somewhat concerned that the country’s plan was developed by an entity whose primary function is not that of economic development and that those with a vested-interest and/or a greater affinity with the area was not selected as lead entity in this process. Perhaps that may explain why the plan took an inordinate amount of time to develop (from January 2010 until October 2011), which was more than double the time for the economic development plan for the state of Ohio to be developed approximately 9 months?
In conclusion, it is my belief that county plans for economic development can prove to be significantly beneficial, however, I further espouse a more regional approach to economic development as the most potentially effective in the long-term.
Possibly such an approach may be considered and eventually pursued, as well.