Created on Thursday, 10 January 2008 07:17
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 January 2008 07:17
By Leo Cohen
The responses to The Valley Reporter series on youth leaving The Valley has been wistful, and in at least one case, eloquent. Clearly the consensus is that there is a problem.
Hurricane, WV, had a problem similar to ours many years ago. To say it simply, it was classical Appalachia. Then along came I-64. Its completion was followed by Toyota and Citi Corp. and then other, smaller employers. That created the need for housing and now there is a community with its own active living environment (restaurants, movies, theater, etc.), nicely supported and complemented by the facilities of Charleston, about 45 minutes away via Interstate.
The Hurricane example suggests that there is something of an economic order to any recovery scenario for our Valley: first, infrastructure to support the businesses we want to attract; then the businesses themselves to provide the jobs that support the people we want to come, or return to, The Valley; then housing that allows them to live here so that other business will be encouraged to create a living environment that makes and keeps The Valley special.
The Mad River Valley already has I-89, plus Burlington and Montpelier. If we were able to entice certain types of business to locate here (e.g., financial services, system and training development, consulting) then the local economy would grow to support housing development, and the rest would follow.
That boils our problem down to identifying the kind of businesses we would like to see in The Valley. We would then have to track down suitable candidates, romance them, sell them, and then support their installation in our community.
I have no experience in doing any of this. However, there are probably some in our community who do. And there are clearly a number of us in this community who are interested in this issue and finding a resolution for it. So, we should identify ourselves, get together, work out first ideas to pursue, and create a plan.
Therefore, identify yourself by calling me at 496-2638. I will organize a meeting and we can get started.
Leo Cohen lives in Fayston.