Giant step — Bluestone park gets first phase of fundingHallelujah.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
One not-so-small step in funding has led to a giant leap toward economic development in Tazewell County. The announcement last week of nearly $1.8 million for phase one of the Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Park is good news for those across the region.
The proposed 680-acre technology center, which will be located near Bluefield, Va., will incorporate a workforce training center, offices, hotels, a conference center, retail stores, residential units and a nine-hole golf course within a single development complex.
In Tazewell County actions are speaking louder than words, and we are encouraged by the economic development momentum rolling through the region. (link)
Only problem is, there's no "economic development momentum" in this. It's nothing more than the construction of a shell building.
Another shell building.
Thinking along those same lines, listen to Jerry Taylor, Lee County Democrat and challenger to 1st District Delegate Terry Kilgore (in "Candidate for Virginia's 1st District says he's willing to listen, work hard to attract jobs," in today's Bristol Herald-Courier):
"I know I can do a better job," the Lee County teacher said. "I’ve seen our young people grow up, go away to college when they turn 18, and then not have a job to come back to when they come home."
[Jerry] Taylor said [Terry] Kilgore talks about bringing jobs to the region, but empty industrial parks in Lee County paint a different picture.
"He talks about bringing in new jobs, but he never talks about how many jobs have left," Taylor said. "We’ve got two industrial parks in Lee County, and there are no jobs in any of them. He’s been in office for 14 years. When will the jobs come forth?"
Taylor said he would actively recruit new industry, even if he has to pay the costs of doing so himself.
He goes on to babble something about the explosive potential of the tourism industry (ugh, it's always spoken of in future tense), but his point here is well-taken. And it's a point that residents in a number of Southwest Virginia counties could make. We have a lot of industrial park buildings, constructed with the best of intentions (see above), that sit empty.
We reach a point in time where we need more than empty buildings and just-as-empty promises. As Taylor says, we need jobs. Employers. Actual (positive) momentum.
Industrial parks are easy. Especially since governments that finance them have money growing on trees these days. Making something of them is the rub. As soon as someone figures that out, we here in Southwest Virginia will be in hog heaven.