By the time this editorial goes to print, the decision will have been made to purchase 11 acres of the Russell campus by the city at the astounding price of $25,000 an acre for future economic development.
Saturday morning when the short article came out describing the proposal, I started getting phone calls. The gist of each call was the same — why are we purchasing more property for economic development? My question is where the money is coming from to purchase the property.
The continued expenditure of funds without any economic growth is senile. The Russell Sales Office acquisition was a done deal. The problem was the citizens of Alex City were given no viable alternative to the sales office as the new city hall. Now our leaders are going to tear down the duplexes although they are a revenue stream, which would offset the money pit the sales office will become. Include the purchase of the 17 acres on Lee Street at $27,000 an acre, and all I see is debt.
All these acquisitions without any proposed economic gain by the current administration are senile. Currently there are two industrial parks with available space in Alex City. Why gain more building sites without some prospect? My opinion is the leadership is putting the cart before the horse. The city continues to be more involved in economic development. The plan for the guest house next to the sales office will be a place for visitors with potential economic development to stay. If this is the case then why pay for a membership at Willow Point for the EDA?
The city wants to be in the hotel business but not in the rental property business. Hmm, how nice. I would not have a problem with acquiring industrial sites if our community actually had a group actively recruiting industry to come to our area. There are very few citizens in our area who understand the EDA has no requirement or obligation to recruit industry for our area.
Currently there is no active recruitment of industry for the lake region. This area has so many assets and resources we don’t have to recruit, we just sit back and wait for the industry to roll in. That is what has been happening for the last 20 years and you see where we are.
My opinion, the leadership of the Lake Martin Economic Development Alliance replacement is long overdue. Every time I question city officials or EDA officials on performance, I get the same answer. They say they are working on something big. They cannot talk, but it is big. I have been waiting for big for 20 years. Without active recruitment of industry, I don’t think we will see anything in the near future. I put together a report on the EDA and anyone wishing to read the report email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a copy. Thank you for your time.
De Opresso Liber