Build a base for industry

Published 1:24 am Sunday, February 7, 2010

Here sits Dallas County and Selma with some of the highest unemployment in the state.

This comes as no fault of our economic development leadership.

The Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce works hard to develop retail in the area and help sustain existing retail. The whole Economic Development crew over at the Centre for Commerce work prospects day in and out. Team Selma meets regularly and goes over prospects; shares information and works on developing other contacts.

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All their work can go for naught if we don’t have a base from which to operate. In this case a base means several things, but chiefly comes appearance.

When couple date they usually dress and look their best. They smell good. They have hair cuts.

What Selma and Dallas County leadership and citizens need to remember is this area is basically “dating” those prospects. They might come into the area without anyone knowing, but they are looking. They drive our streets. They watch us.

We need to primp just like we were preparing for a date.

Right now Selma doesn’t look its best. Its gateways are not inviting.

On Saturday and Sunday mornings downtown and outside the clubs the streets look like roads in a landfill rather than main, historic streets to one of the most well-known cities in the world.

Boxes are tossed on the side of the road in old neighborhoods. And in spite of city ordinances, some cars still pull up in yards and some vehicles remain on blocks in front of houses in old neighborhoods.

This city needs a garbage czar — an employee designated to keep the streets clean and ensure those ordinances are kept.

The city needs a person to direct a team to keep the gateways spruced; to develop methods of working with local businesses to keep buildings on the mend; to take inventory of the city’s vacant buildings and ensure they’re not an eyesore or danger.

When Selma cleans up, the city will have a cornerstone down on the base our economic development leadership uses to sell us to industry and tourism.