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Slump buster -- time to keep this streak going

Joe Centers • Jun 10, 2014 at 8:07 AM

It's amazing what some good news will do. And right now Norwalk is on a roll.

There were a pair of ribbon-cuttings this week in town -- Monday at the Now and Then store, a retail outlet for The Hen House, and then Thursday at the Frontier Store in uptown Norwalk.

Wrap that around Tuesday's big news out of Norwalk city council when members enthusiastically adopted two pieces of potentially huge legislation.

The first was a resolution approving a job creation grant agreement with Borgers USA Corp. Council also adopted an Ohio enterprise zone agreement for the project.

Borgers is considering Norwalk as the location for its new plant and things looked good after Tuesday's meeting.

Officials also got approval from both school districts involved -- Norwalk and Edison -- along with the go-ahead from county officials.

The company is expected to bring in 230 new jobs over two phases.

It's no secret Norwalk has gone through some hard times lately, most recently the announced closing of Janesville Acoustics and EPIC Technologies -- the loss of almost 400 jobs.

Compare Norwalk's economic luck to being a Cleveland sports fan, which has been a struggle to say the least.

It started back on Jan. 4, 1981 with Red-Right 88 back. Follow that up The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot (Michael Jordan's kick in the gut), Jose Mesa's meltdown, Bernie Kosar's "diminishing skills," the Tribe's 2007 choke-job, blowing a 3-1 lead to Boston in the American League Championship Series (with Colorado waiting in the wings), and last year's playoff run that lasted about three hours.

Things got so bad Cleveland even lost its football team for three years -- 1996, 97 and 98.

The one real bright spot came in 2007 when the Cavaliers went to the NBA Finals, but that was short lived in a four-game sweep by the San Antonio Spurs.

With this years NBA Finals in full swing, talk of that Cavaliers team has resurfaced. I heard from more than one talking head that team was the worst ever to make the NBA Finals. Other than LeBron James on the roster, it would be hard to dispute that claim.

Wrap all of that up with The Decision by James in 2010 to take his talents to South Beach, and you have one big pile of poop.

I saw a T-shirt recently in Norwalk that says it all -- "Rebuilding since 1948."

That's about the way it felt around here in recent years with bad economic news.

But the slump is over. Although not official, groundbreaking is set for early July and it is hoped production will begin by the first of the year.

A number of local officials have been involved to bring this all together. Borgers searched a four-state area -- Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky -- for the right location. It's good to be on the winning side for once. And officials think this is just the start of good things. The CVG building recently was sold (twice), so expect something to go in there. The old Norwalk Furniture building was just sold.

And Tom Bleile has plenty of buildings ready to go in the Firelands Industrial Park.

Norwalk has a lot going for it. The unemployment is high, but that means a large workforce. The work Janesville and Borgers do is very similar, so training would be minimal. And with the Ohio Turnpike just a few miles away, getting raw materials in and the finished product out is a snap.

We're on a roll right now and we can't let up. It's time to turn this slump into a streak.

Who's next to step up to the plate?

Joe Centers is the Reflector managing editor. He can be reached via e-mail at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com.

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