Economic recovery anticipated

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Signs that economic recovery is anticipated have prompted Lewisburg's industrial developer to feel optimistic, according to his reports at City Hall.

"They expect to add 100,000 jobs in the next year," Industrial Development Director Greg Lowe told the city's Industrial Development Board last week in a report that's typically repeated to city councilmen nearly a week later.

Lowe based his optimism on remarks heard at a business conference in Detroit with auto industry leaders and those from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In response, Lowe said he approached the businessmen asking them: "What puts me on your radar?" The responses included invitations to visit those businessmen a their offices. Lowe plans to accept.

He anticipates at least a one-day trip to a manufacturer in one of the southern states.

Meanwhile, Lowe continues to visit businesses here, asking what the city can do to improve their business, expand and hire more people.

Furthermore, one of the state's assistant commissioners of economic and community development was scheduled to visit Lewisburg for an exercise on how to best present the city's economic opportunities to a prospective developer. Lowe declined to say when the official would be in town, or where they'd meet.

In other developments regarding economic development:

* Renovation of the historic Ladies Rest Room on First Avenue North has revealed roof rafters that have "sunken down," requiring replacement of some of the boards. Electrical wires have been replaced. Window sheathing deteriorated and replacement windows were bought and installed.

The Industrial Development Board authorized spending of $5,000. That amount now appears to be insufficient to complete the job.

* The appearance of the city's sewage treatment plant, as seen from North Ellington Parkway - just north of East Church Street - was described to IDB Chairman Eddie Wiles by an associate as an eye sore, and Wiles agreed.

"Is this something this board wants to address and do something about?" the board chairman asked.

Mayor Barbara Woods had a suggestion.

"What ever you want to do," she said, "talk to Mr. Carr." Kenneth Carr is the superintendent of the Water and Wastewater Department.

A variety of ideas were suggested. They included getting advice from the Nature Conservancy and asking some of the biggest businesses in town to buy fast growing trees.

Lowe acknowledged the board's interest in doing something and said he'd have something to report when the panel met on the fist Monday in May.