Partners' Initiative Holds Promise
Kudos to Pat Corso, Melanie Thompson and the Moore County Partners in Progress executive board for taking their show on the road.
They have a captive - and captivated - audience as they look to open communication lines with local municipalities and community stakeholders. Corso has a list of 10 initiatives to spur economic development in Moore County and is seeking feedback to determine how many will "stick."
The proactive approach is not only refreshing but absolutely critical, because Partners is a public-private partnership in the truest sense. More than half of its annual operating budget comes from the county and five municipalities - Aberdeen, Carthage, Pinehurst, Robbins and Southern Pines.
The rest is primarily donated by county businesses and private citizens.
Programs Tailored to Towns
The road show started in November in Southern Pines and stopped in Pinehurst earlier this month. It will continue in March in front of our county commissioners, before wending its way to Aberdeen, Carthage and Robbins through the summer and fall. Partners is meeting with its financial supporters first, then will venture to Cameron, Pinebluff, Vass and the county's other municipalities.
It is imperative to understand that while one business may work in Pinehurst, the same entity may not survive in Robbins, and vice versa. But bringing businesses to Moore County will ultimately benefit all of the towns. That is why Corso believes the exchange of information and ideas is critical to help the communities individually and the entire county collectively.
We wholeheartedly concur and hope that elected officials, civic employees and concerned citizens throughout the county step to the plate and let their voices be heard.
Corso and Partners are trying to cast a wider net, so don't pass up the opportunity to put in your "two cents." We need to be earnestly seeking intellectual capital as we work toward goals such as a better-educated work force for existing businesses, tapping former and current business leaders as mentors to new business owners, and seeking other ways to grow local business.
We're All Stakeholders
Corso has hit the ground running since smoothly taking the baton from Ray Ogden last fall. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious and will no doubt play a key role in helping the initiatives stick. He has done an outstanding job of recruiting a point person, or persons, for several of the initiatives. He realizes that he can't do it alone.
Usually, that's half the battle. We would hate to see Partners' efforts follow the 20-80 rule of most initiatives in the nonprofit realm - you know, where 20 percent of the people involved do 80 percent of the work.
Several stakeholders have noted that the rules of the economic development game have changed over the past two decades as global competition has intensified. "Years ago, we could just sit back," observed long-serving Pinehurst Village Manager Andy Wilkison. "Now we can't do that. By necessity, we have to work with each other. Nobody can do it on their own."
Corso added, "We can't just sit here and wait for people and business to come to us."
Amen. Hope to see you at one of the next stops.
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