Small Town and Rural Economic Development: A Case Studies Approach

By Peter V. Schaeffer; Scott Loveridge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 21
The Development by a Community and Its Part Ownership of an Investor-Owned Manufacturing Plant

David Zimet

"There's an old saying, 'Heroes come along when you need them.'"

John Street


INTRODUCTION

This case study tells the story of an investment of approximately $180,000 that created a major industrial plant. It is unlike many other industrial attraction projects in that it did not rely on large incentives offered to a firm. The investment discussed included some public funds and a good deal of work and initiative by community leaders. It took more than ten years, much hard work from a variety of community leaders, some originality, some help from an array of public institutions and agencies, community support, and at least one false trail before a good idea resulted in a major investment. This chapter tells the story of the effort required. Other authors have reported unsuccessful attempts to develop major projects (for example, Ramsay 1996).

This case study describes the development a medium-density fiberboard plant ( MDF) in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. Although individual leaders are highlighted, the reader must realize that those individuals viewed (and still view) themselves as part of a team. The acknowledged leader of that team was John Street, the executive director of the Clarion County Economic Development Corporation. He coordinated the efforts of other individuals and facilitated their work to make sure that things got done in a timely fashion. Strong community support was also an important factor in the successful completion of the project described here.

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