Another year has come and gone,
There are many things we can dwell on.
But as we look to the future, reflect on the past,
We hope our good fortune will continue to last.
2018 was certainly a year,
Where economic trends were often unclear.
So rather than making New Year resolutions,
Let’s focus instead on finding solutions.
The big news this year we know to be true,
Was Amazon’s search for Headquarters 2.
They put cities on notice from far and from wide,
By the end of the year they would finally decide.
Offers came in from the east and the west,
Each city thought that their proposal was best.
People asked leaders, “Where will the money come from,”
“Incentives will leave us with few local breadcrumbs.”
“We won’t raise taxes,” officials would say,
“Generations to come will be happy to pay.”
238 cities withered down to a few,
Then finally in the end the winner was two.
Arlington and New York won the big prize
Each were awarded half the promised size,
“So sorry,” Amazon said to those that applied
“It appears as though the two cities tied.”
Amazon has now expanded its Seattle borders,
With one headquarters and two hindquarters.
Don’t think of this as an opportunity blown,
But consider investing in businesses homegrown.
Take heart in the fact that you were not short-listed,
Good news abounds and the economy persisted.
Plenty of jobs were created last year,
In ways that seem so perfectly clear.
Communities have plenty of tools in their box,
Economic developers should certainly take stock.
Consider Amazon’s recruitment to be a sage warning,
Take a deep breath and start fresh every morning.
Economic Gardening should be at the top of the list,
Where experts come in and eagerly assist.
The Edward Lowe Foundation can help your gazelles,
And identify trends that will help them excel.
Mother Nature was angry this past year for sure,
The weather so fierce it was hard to endure.
We mourn the loss of shelter and lives,
And owe first responders lots of high fives.
Fire, storms, and flooding continue to rage,
They’ve become the norm in this day and age.
That’s why economic developers should act with authority
To make disaster preparation a number one priority
Main Street seems to be making their way,
The tourism trade is saving the day.
Culture and history may bring them downtown,
But locally made products are what keep them around.
Tourism for pleasure is another such boom,
Hopefully, your town has plenty of room.
Travel spending increased this past year,
You might want that budget to shift to high gear.
Buying local continues to be a big thing,
Reducing carbon footprint is what it will bring.
That’s just one of many good reasons,
To keep businesses open for all four seasons.
Makers and dreamers are showing their art,
Pop-up places are a good place to start.
Thanks to organizations like a state’s work source,
They make up a third of the country’s workforce.
Entrepreneurs are showing no sign of decline,
And that seems to be a very good sign.
They create more jobs than recruitment ever will,
Whose net job creation numbers are just about nil.
Good areas to start are co-working spaces,
Where you find new ideas and networking faces.
This new trend isn’t at all confusing,
Just try to find a place that few are yet using.
The technology sector is a hot space right now,
Creating trillion dollar companies, at least on the Dow.
But jobs locally will be in demand,
If states can deliver on rural broadband.
Rural communities deserve our support,
But their program funding often falls short.
What’s not to love about rural living?
The people are friendly and really quite giving.
Their number one problem is the loss of their youth,
To big urban centers, it’s the hard and cold truth.
Promoting entrepreneurship is the way to go,
If you want that exodus to finally slow.
It’s important that rural holds onto its youth,
By providing training, opportunity and truth.
A lack of understanding is often to blame,
And letting them go is just such a shame.
Rural is the base of our economy you know,
Farmers and small businesses help it to grow.
They need our love not our urban disdain,
We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
So this is my opening blog for 2019,
It’s time to start new and wipe the slate clean.
So let’s start the year with hope, not fear,
And I wish everyone a prosperous New Year.
What’s New This Month…
- Countering the Geography of Discontent: Strategies for Left Behind Places
- The Hard Truths of Trying to Save the Rural Economy
- Creative Funding Sources for Fiber Infrastructure
Grants and Awards
- FM Global Fire Prevention Grant Program
- Veterans of Foreign Wars
- Smart Growth and Livable Communities: Partners for Places
- Main Street Now Conference, March 25-27, 2019, Seattle Washington
- Executive Director, Open Space for Arts and Community, Vashon Island, Wa
- Economic Development Program Manager, King County, Seattle, WA
- Program Manager, Rural Development Initiatives, Central Oregon
- Director of Grants Management, Oregon Community Foundation – Portland, Oregon