Confehr: Is now the time to get your ducks lined up?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Yup. It sure is.

Or, as an industrial developer would say, "Absolutely."

Late last week the perils of a sewer moratorium were discussed during the monthly city utility meeting.

It's human nature to look more closely at the "negative" side of things. However, the state order imposing the moratorium includes a schedule of required responses that spell "positive" news for Lewisburg.

Here's why.

As currently operated, the city's treatment plant has reached, and at times exceeded, its capacity to serve the residents and businesses of Lewisburg. The plant needs expansion anyway.

Given the continued recessionary economic conditions here, it was a no-brainer when Water and Wastewater Superintendent Kenneth Carr said that the moratorium couldn't have come at a better time.

After all, there weren't any requests for more sewer taps.

"Well," Carr said last week, "we've got a request now."

There should be more than just an apartment complex for low-income senior citizens eligible for rent vouchers from the local housing authority.

Fortunately, our life expectancy has increased. There's a long-standing federal program available to deal with that, and other aspects of life and the economy.

It's worth sharing an optimistic view of this situation. It's not rocket science. In fact, it's quite basic.

When Lewisburg's Sewage Treatment Plant (also known as an STP) has twice the capacity that it does now, then the city will be able to accommodate the growth that it so desperately wants and needs.

Even the apartment complex for senior citizens offers a basic boom for the city's economic viability. Ask any homebuilder or Realtor. Both will repeat what's been known for decades.

Housing is a basic engine for the economy. New construction not only employs construction workers. It also results in the purchase of construction materials, appliances and a whole host of other things that fuel a local economy.

Housing could rightfully be seen as the STP (Speed, Timing, Performance) to get the economic fuel hopped up for a hotrod ride toward prosperity.

Big institutions have recognized that a downturn in the economy is a good time to buy land and hire engineers for buildings. Now is when the economic plans are laid for a resurgence of profits.

That is part of the free market system of capitalism.

So what if this seems too optimistic. Clearly, it's not a negative story on local developments.

If this forward running tale trips on a negative view because of the rent subsidy aspect of a potential development, consider the need for more housing and a bigger STP from a broader perspective.

Tennessee has boosted new thinking and industrial development that's applicable in transportation, especially the vehicle construction business.

One, and admittedly just one, of our contacts in the General Motors plant northwest of here says motor manufacturing is returning to the plant this year.

When vehicle production resumes -- and the smart money has always believed that plant won't be left idle forever -- Lewisburg will need a bigger STP.

Gentlemen, get your ducks in a row.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.