RDA Happenings February 2016
Posted on February 28, 2016 – By Emporia RDA
In January I attended the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Leadership Conference in New Orleans. It is part of continuing education as a Certified Economic Developer; and it’s good to become aware of best practices and network with my economic development colleagues and friends.
One of my long-time friends is Kenny McDonald, who is the President/CEO of Columbus 2020, a regional economic development marketing group for the greater Columbus, Ohio area. On their website are his articles on economic development topics. His most recent article was entitled “Persist and Persevere”. The statement that summarized the topic following, “…progress can be slow and incremental, but leadership accelerates progress through vision and acquisition of assets that contribute to success. Where leaders work together, progress can be multiplied many times over.”
Over the past twenty-two years, the RDA has had the cooperation and support of many individuals and groups, has had great success in job creation at above the average wage, and growth in the local tax base. The real success is attributed to all those groups that put resources in place decades prior to the RDA. We the community would not have been successful without them.
The Hill’s Pet Nutrition project was developed on an 83-acre site. When they contacted us about the project, we had only 40 of the 83-acres. That forty acres only took us eight years to acquire for a future project. We were able to purchase the other 43 acres in two weeks for the Hill’s project.
Once the project was announced we had to trade and acquire more real estate from Renewable Energy Group, Norfolk Iron & Metal and Scott Woodward. We had six months to get those real estate transactions resolved. Patience and perseverance was the key to success on the Hill’s Pet Nutrition project.
At the Annual Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce banquet, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to John Mallon, who is one of the most persistent and persevering individuals in Emporia.
One of the many examples is back in 1994 when he purchased the Granada Theater, which may have been demolished because of disrepair. He repaired the roof, water protected the exterior walls and began working with various community groups and individuals who worked to preserve and restore the Granada Theater to its grandeur of the past. It took more than a decade of fund raising and reconstruction, but great projects start with the courage, perseverance, and persistence of a few.
John Mallon and his partners are working on the Lowther north and south buildings and the Anderson Memorial library. It will just take time and it will happen. Again, congratulations to John Mallon on his Lifetime Achievement Award by the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce.