I kind of liked this article in the Bangor Daily News about Saint John and some of its economic development efforts.
Right up until, of course, they had to spoil it with this little snippet:
The Brookings Institute’s 2007 study of Maine essentially reached the same conclusion: Focus on polishing the assets that make Maine a great place to live, work and recreate, and economic development will follow.
I don’t understand why people have to be so linear in their thinking. Making Maine a great place to live, work and recreate is a worthy objective and does link into economic development efforts but economic development will never just ‘follow’. But for some reason that seems to be the conclusion of all the bright lights around this region. You know what I am talking about. Let me refresh your memory.
We are building this road and economic development will follow.
We are investing in broadband Internet and economic development will follow.
We are cutting this tax and economic development will follow.
In my experience, economic development never just follows. In fact, I think it should be the opposite. We develop a serious and credible economic development strategy and then we start thinking about what we need to do to achieve that strategy.