Small Town and Rural Economic Development: A Case Studies Approach

By Peter V. Schaeffer; Scott Loveridge | Go to book overview
in Forestville. Pine Hill Associate members who owned land sold their land to the company and some of them were also employed when site clearing and construction began in July of 1966. One of them later became the president of the company. Today, some of the original members of the Pine Hill Associates are still employed with the company. Some of them celebrated 25 years of employment with the company at the end of 1993.A firm recruited with tax and other incentives from local residents created jobs and other benefits; however, the majority of the beneficiaries are not local residents but live in neighboring communities. In Forestville, community is an arena of self- serving action rather than a cohesive acting unit. Public resources were used for the development of private gain. Thus, growth promotion may be suspect as a development strategy because it may reflect elite interests rather than the interests of the community as a whole ( Molotch 1976).While Molotch ( 1976) contention that community mobilization tends to be class action, serving only the interest of those in the community who control key resources such as land without regard for the costs to the local community, is supported by the findings of this research, there is an alternative explanation. It is possible that the relatively small size of Forestville prevented it from capturing the majority of the benefits. Regardless of the reason or reasons behind the relatively small beneficial impact, this case illustrates that when small communities pursue large employers, many of the benefits may accrue in communities that did not contribute to the costs of attracting the firm.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FROM THE EDITORS
1. Was the Forestville industrial recruitment project a success? Why or why not?
2. How might Forestville residents who work elsewhere or who are unemployed benefit from the presence of the wood products firm?
3. What steps might Forestville have taken to ensure that more of the benefits of having the plant were felt by residents of the city?

NOTE

This research is supported by a grant from Tennessee Valley Authority Rural Studies Program (Competitive Research Contract No. UKRF 433441-98-19). The author wishes to express appreciation to Yetunde Williams and Mamo Abeye for research assistance.

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