What should we expect?

The Marion County Commission held a regular meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in Hamilton.
During the meeting, David Thornell, the president and chief executive officer of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance, provided the commission with an update on how things were shaping up in our county as it pertains to new industry coming in and setting up shop.
It’s no secret that we as a county would love to have any sort of industry come and do business in our area.
It would provide jobs for us and, in turn, strengthen our communities and help us continue to grow.
During the meeting, District 2 commissioner Kenneth Cochran questioned Thornell about the work he and his company have been doing in the past nine years.
Cochran also had concerns about never seeing itemized statements and that he has growing concerns about not knowing what exactly the county is paying Thornell for.
District 1 commissioner Keith Nichols also chimed in during the meeting saying, “People want to see results.”
A fair point made by both commissioners, no doubt.
But, in all honesty, what results should we be expecting to see at this stage of community development?
A major concern for quite some time has been attempting to get manufacturers such as Toyota and Mazda to set up in our area so that we can do business here in Marion County.
But, how realistic is that at this stage of development?
I-22 being built was a major step foward for our county. It potentially opens up opportunities for industry to come in and set up shop with us.
These things, however, take time and plenty of patience.
While we think it’s absolutely fair to ask for results from Thornell and the Northwest Alabama EDA, we also think we need to be in touch with the reality of our situation.
We are not a hot-spot for industry and it may very well be a long, long time until we are.
It is likely going to take a long time for Thornell and the Northwest Alabama EDA to get the ball rolling on bringing big name industry to our area.
We should not only be focusing on bringing big industry to our area. We should focus on expanding the current industry in place as well.
Cochran certainly has a good point when asking to see results on paper as the tax payers of this county have surely funded the efforts of this company and we do expect to see results.
However, we may need to set our at-times-lofty expectations for what results are a little lower for the time being.
According to Thornell, he played a part in bringing Hamilton Home Builders and KITH Kitchens to Bear Creek as well as the upcoming Love’s truck stop to Hamilton.
These are good additions to our communities and offer new job opportunities to us.
It isn’t Toyota or Mazda, but it is a step in the right direction when it comes to economic development and no, we have no clue what sort of domino effect this could cause.
Little by little, we believe we will soon see the fruits of labors to get better industry in our area, but for now, we may need to be a little more patient.
These things will take time.