There is a community that has several things going for it, and many people would like to live in the community, if only they knew about it. Among the things that are going for it includes a new biodiesel plant about to go into full production, a new jail will be built this year; the school system has recently expanded its facilities and the sewage system is being upgraded with a new plant to be constructed. In this community the airport is being improved. There is a National Guard Camp near the town where the buildings are being renovated (your tax dollars at work) to prepare for greater utilization that is coming.
A new strip mall is finally being constructed. This town has a good street improvement program and there are other things that are taking place and other things will be happening in the near future.
Other communities are envious. These other communities are amazed of progress that is being made and are wondering how it happens.
Now, doesn't this sound like a good place to live? You may recognize this community as the Nevada/Vernon County area. By living in this community you are living in a thriving community.
Why is there so many "nay sayers?" Many within this community keep saying that this is not a good place. Is it because that many people do not realize the great advantages that we have over other communities? Is it because we are not doing a good job of selling the community, even to those who are living in the community? It certainly is an attitude that exists within our area.
Still, a question that needs to be asked is why has this community not progress as much as other communities including Clinton, West Plains and Lebanon? Certainly we need to look at these progressive communities and others to determine how they have met with their success.
My special interest is sociology and economics. As result I have a great amount of interest in the dynamics of the community and in economic development. Economic development might mean several different thins, but basically improving the income and quality of living in the community.
It is interesting to discuss economic development with the leaders in the community and with different people. One person said that economic development has gone to China.
Every community expresses the same need, the need to do economic development. At one time that meant going after the smoke stacks -- manufacturing plants. In general that no longer is the way to do economic development -- you do not chase the smoke stacks. Other means have to take place.
One professional person said that the way to do economic development is to do expansion with the businesses and enterprises that we have. That is one of the means of achieving economic expansion.
One civic leader suggested that the best way of doing economic development is getting people to retire here. This is one of the things that many communities are doing to promote economic growth. Retirees bring money to the community.
A major portion of our income in our area comes from such things as Social Security and farm subsidies. All of these things add to the income of the community.
One person that gives a great amount of thought to the needs of the community says there is a need to revitalize the Square -- it is not just a Nevada Square but it is the Vernon County Square. There is a need to concentrate businesses in the downtown, including a need for specialty shops. It cannot be stores that compete with the stores in Joplin. Effort needs to be made to bring people into the downtown area and bring them when the businesses are open.
This is the type of program that Main Street is designed to do. His thoughts is that more "horse power" is needed which includes more leadership and more people being involved.
He feels there is a need to get the ideas and thoughts of young people. This person and others have expressed that the city council needs to be friendlier to businesses and to take more leadership in the economic development. An example of the council not being open to specialty businesses is by not allowing a gift shop on the square, because it would sell some wine.
Economic development is complex; there are many parts to it. Community leaders are taking a look at what the community needs to do. Kathi Wysong, chamber of commerce director, said, "Economic development is everybody's business."
Kathi suggest that the community needs to use the SWOT analysis. It is not only a good method by the community, but is also a good technique for businesses and organizations. SWOT Analysis is a powerful technique for understanding Strengths and Weaknesses and for looking at the Opportunities and Treats faced. This is worth persuading -- let's do it.
A new person in town asked who has heard of Nevada outside of the state. I am not sure if people have heard of it in the state, at least what it has to offer. He said this after one leader said that there are needs for money to be budget to advertise the community.
Certainly, we need to sell our community to ourselves and to others.
We have a good base to build on and can be done with everybody working together as a team.