Part III – Franklin County Economic Development
How may empty buildings are there in Franklin County? I have no idea and it seems no one else really does either. Finding this information is like searching for the Holy Grail.
Why does it matter if we know how many empty building there are? I could give you a list, the short answer is when a new business is looking for a place to open it must have “doors to open”. Minimizing startup cost can mean the difference between success and failure. To see the value of this one only has to look at the decisions made by the White Street Brewery, soon to expand their operation in Youngsville.
I spent considerable time looking for the answer to this. I drove around, met with people, made phone calls, and bounced from website to website. The consensus from everyone I talked to was “boy it really would be nice if we could put our fingers on this”. Then when someone called we could give them that information.
To give a little perspective, ask yourself if you are a business person looking to set up shop and cannot get the answers to the simple questions, and or when you ask the questions you receive information that is not correct what would you do? Would you spend endless hours on this or simply move on?
This is more complex than one may think, as it requires cooperation and interaction of many people. From what I can gather the base of data relied on by the many related offices is sourced from realtors. When you think about it, this makes sense; relators make their living from selling and listing property. One would think it would be in their best interest to be letter perfect with the expectation of attracting clients.
If you look across the spectrum most realtors are in the residential market. When one considers the margin of commercial growth this also makes sense.
Now let us consider the value of cooperation. When it comes to the human condition sadly, cooperation is more a matter of what is in it for me rather than how can I benefit someone else. Why would relators put a major effort towards chasing limited targets? If they did in short order they would find themselves saying, “Sir would you like fries with that”, to make a living.
My conclusion is interest with this can be mutually exclusive. What is important to a relator is not a priority for someone opening a new business, and what is important to the Franklin County Office of Economic Development contrast with other interest.
Last night I attended the County Commissioners’ meeting and the issue of EDC meetings not being held was a topic of discussion. Unimpressed is the word I will use to describe my reaction to what I heard. The obvious question was, why have 5 of 8 meetings for the year been cancelled? It was generally accepted the reason was there is nothing talk about and there was no point in wasting people’s time. To my surprise the idea was surfaced that maybe they should schedule and hold fewer meetings.
Commissioners Harry Foy and Don Lancaster all but blurted out “Maybe we should have something to talk about”. To be more candid it really did not surprise me when I heard the answer may be to hold fewer meeting. Remember the dismal attendance I previously reported when it comes to officials actually attending these meetings. This year some have not even attended a single meeting.
Again note there are very high paid county employees and elected officials charged with attending these meetings to act in your best interest. I heard zero outrage by most that people are not doing what they are paid to do. In fact I heard justification for it. Can you spell “amazing? If you are caught with your hand in the cookie jar you should try and find a little humility. A few that defended this are among those that have now been, so to speak, been caught taking cookies. Their answer to me sounded like it they expected the baker to work harder.
Business development is about resources and existing infrastructure. Is this something worth talking about? Empty building are about as exciting as watching grass grow. It is important to give timely and correct information to those that may give your son or daughter a job? If there is nothing else to talk about why not this, what do you think?
My guess is there will be a meeting in September. If for no other reason the lid has been put on the cookie jar.
If you are doing home repairs buy what you need in Franklin County. The money says here and helps pay a local salary.
Southern Franklin Republican Club meets the last Tuesday of the month in Youngsville at the, Community House