OUR VIEW - Region's localities should cooperate instead of compete

News last week that Jiffy Products was intending to leave Norwalk to set up shop in Lorain appears to have come as a surprise to local officials. The company, along with its 21 jobs, is expected to make the move by next summer.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

News last week that Jiffy Products was intending to leave Norwalk to set up shop in Lorain appears to have come as a surprise to local officials.

The company, along with its 21 jobs, is expected to make the move by next summer.

While the move will certainly be a blow to Norwalk, it appears to make good sense for Jiffy Products. The company's facility in Norwalk is obviously inadequate it has to operate in two buildings encompassing some 70,000 square feet. In Lorain, it will occupy part of the former Ford plant, which offers more than 100,000 square feet, all under one roof.

That Jiffy would opt for such a location is to be expected.

What's bothersome about the affair is the $125,000 forgivable loan Lorain is using to entice Jiffy to move. This area of Ohio is struggling economically and every community is naturally looking for any edge it can get. Still, there's an entire world of communities out there from which to poach companies. We shouldn't be doing it from each other.

In today's highly competitive and rapidly changing global economy, traditional political boundaries are becoming less and less relevant. If a large company is considering locating a facility in Norwalk, it looks at more than just what Norwalk has to offer or at least we damn well better hope so.

The boundaries that matter for work and play are those of commerce and they are drawn around regions, not localities.

Not that we don't love our city and think it's the best place possible to live we do it's just that by itself, it does not have the available workforce, for example, a large company would need. People already travel from here to Sandusky, from here to Lorain, from here to Elyria and vice versa to work or seek entertainment. In short, we're already a region, we just need to start acting like one and working cooperatively to attract employers, not sneaking around trying to snatch employers from one another.

While Norwalk, for example, may reap the tax benefit from a large employer deciding to locate here, many of those employed there would live in surrounding communities where they would spend the money they earn. What benefits one benefits all.

What's more, smart regions are already doing this. Raleigh, N.C. is not out there by itself trying to lure jobs. It's Raleigh and the Triangle Region that is promoted. No single locality has all the assets workforce, infrastructure and intellectual assets needed to be competitive. But as a region, we do have them.

We're all in this thing together and the sooner we realize that and start working cooperatively instead of competitively, the better off we all will be.

Comments

Amazing... How ...

Amazing. This newspaper is asking that we recognize that we are living in a "rapidly changing global economy, [where] traditional political boundaries are becoming less and less relevant" and that "In short, we're already a region, we just need to start acting like one and working cooperatively..." This is the exact basis of Dr.& Mrs. Stine's article suggestion a joint health department between Huron & Erie counties - where the total cost of opperations would be allocated to the respective counties based on usage. Of course, the recommended outlet mall location was a whole 5.6 miles away from the current Huron county health department - but "we're already a region" so why should that matter? My question - Why isn't "OUR VIEW" consistent?

well, gosh (Ano...

Maybe it's not consistent because they're completely different situations. You can't just go around applying the same knee-jerk principle to everything. I suppose if they really wanted to be consistent, they'd just have to write "We should act like a region," over and over again like Jack Nicholson in the Shining.

Dear Amazing (A...

The difference is Stein's article asked gov't agencies from adjacent counties to work together & share cost for tax payers savings. This article is asking gov't in the same region to work together not stealing businesses from one another. Both Stein's article & this article have the right approach, a regional concept. The OUR VIEW was inconsistent on their stance of Jiffy Products moving & a regionalized Health Dept., ie. appearantly Lorain is regional, but Sandusky isn't.

adam smith (Ano...

While I agree with the general sentiment of this editorial, what is not mentioned is whether or not the Jiffy Products relo was an all or nothing proposition for the region. By that I mean was this possibly a matter of choice for Jiffy to either move to Lorain in exchange for the forgivable loan or to re-locate outside of the region for some other economic incentive. If that were the case, and we all took a "regional" view to the situation, then Lorain's bid is not only not "bothersome", it is, in fact, encouraging.