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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

The Wish

A couple were dining out together celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. After the meal, the husband presented his wife romantically with a beautiful, very old, gold antique locket on a chain. Amazingly when his wife opened the locket, a tiny fairy appeared. Addressing the astonished couple, the fairy said, “Your forty years of devotion to each other has released me from this locket, and in return I can now grant you both one wish each – anything you want.”

Without hesitating, the wife asked, “Please, can I travel to the four corners of the world with my husband, as happy and in love as we’ve always been?” The fairy waved her wand with a flourish, and magically there on the table were two first-class tickets for a round-the-world holiday.

Staggered, the couple looked at each other, unable to believe their luck. “Your turn,” said the fairy and the wife to the husband. The husband thought for a few seconds, and then said, with a little guilt in his voice, “Forgive me, but to really enjoy that holiday of a lifetime – I yearn for a younger woman – so I wish that my wife could be thirty years younger than me.” Shocked, the fairy glanced at the wife, and with a knowing look in her eye, waved her wand….. and POOF the husband instantly became ninety-three.

This story clearly illustrates the age old lesson that we ALL need to be careful what we ask for. Like the husband above, most counties across Iowa and the country are not content with their current economy. Many people are concerned about rising unemployment rates, lower than average incomes, and many public officials are concerned about increasing the tax base to share the local tax burden.  All these individual opinions make it difficult to get many rural counties to focus on the specific actions that will result in real change.

I believe that Tama County is ready to move from haggling over individual town interests to come together for a comprehensive, focused plan.  Where do we start? As with any business WE RUN THE NUMBERS. We need the data on what businesses will thrive here in Tama County – no more guessing or hoping; we need the data to know what types of businesses will succeed here.

Iowa State University has an economic development tool called CD-DIAL. It would collect information from ALL the communities within Tama County by conducting surveys through mail, online and telephone. After gathering the data the ISU team analyzes the data, writes the report, and presents the results. We will in turn use this data to lay out our plan to successfully grow our economy.

I believe this data will be critical in our success in economic development. For you see, I do not want our county to be the husband that wished; only to be surprised when the wish was granted.

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