2007-11-14 / Letters

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

After reading last week's article on the "Search for Industry", I believe I am missing something. The caption under the picture of the Millen Industrial Park states the property has recently been purchased by the county industrial development authority. As a Jenkins County taxpayer, my question is, "Why would we buy more land for an industrial park when we already have 96 acres on Dairy Road purchased in 2005 among other things?"

The article mentions that potential business prospects have indicated that the appearance of our community is not pleasing, and I understand we are receiving grant money for revitalization.

My opinion is that we need to spend more money on the entrances into town around the Highway 25 area where potential business owners may pass by rather than on downtown. As for the train watching facility, if we do not get something viable in the area soon, it is going to overfill with people sitting and watching trains, because that is all there will be left to do in Millen. Out of interest in where our tax dollars are being spent, has there been a survey done on the number of people who sit and watch trains and how exactly that brings new business into the area?

We should offer new prospects and current business owners some real perks that would help them financially. I would suggest that financial incentives would work better for industry rather than a bike trail, Civil War trail or a train-watching platform. Regardless of the fact that we receive grant money, it should be spent wisely or not accepted because it is our responsibility to be good and wise stewards of what we are given.

As for the friendliness of the community, I believe, if our citizens were told we had new prospects coming into town, they would gather at the entrance of the city with welcome signs and bring lunch with smiling faces. Furthermore, I suggest that the citizens of this county take a proactive role and caravan to Atlanta to meet with our state officials and plead for help rather than leaving all the work to our county officials.

I appreciate the efforts of The Millen News and ask that we be kept abreast on a regular basis so that we do not get even more discouraged as we begin this season of tax paying.

Sincerely, Sandra Dempsey

Millen

Dear Editor:

I have been a successful business person and lived in Millen all of my life. As president of the Millen-Jenkins County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the development authority, I take offense to the letter written last week by Mrs. Heather James. I personally know of the many efforts that have been put forth to attract industry to our community.

We currently have three or four empty buildings that are available for industry. There are 786 others listed on the Georgia Development Authorities' web site. We are competing with all of those.

We have put in place several parcels of land of various sizes to attract industry; we are applying for grants to be able to offer training to any employer; city and county leaders are ready to offer incentives to potential employers; marketing materials are being prepared to promote and advertise the industrial potential of the county.

When industries are thinking about moving to a location, they will do several things before they approach anyone in the community. They will look to see if we have a web site, and they will look at the demographics of the county. They consider the quality of the education system and its rank within the state, the millage rate for the county, the hospital facilities, the work force available, the cleanliness and pride within the community and many other factors.I am sure we have been rejected by potential industries when they made their first drive through the county.

Instead of pointing fingers at the "power egos" maybe she should attend a chamber meeting or a development authority meeting, or a Better Hometown meeting and express her ideas or suggest solutions to the many obstacles we face. I personally know the many hours that Paula Herrington, Art Johnson, Julie Chance and many others have put in to make this community more attractive to industry.

As you drive through our community you will see many abandoned and dilapidated buildings. Within the last 60 days 25 of these property owners have been notified to clean up their property or face court action. Some may see this as extreme and a taking away of property owner's rights. But in order for this community to move forward we have to start with the basics, and one of those is to clean this place up. Too many of these buildings have been vacant and uncared for too long.

The bottom line is we are competing with 159 counties in Georgia and 49 other states to attract industry. Now is the time for the entire community to come together and ask individually, "What can I do to help?"

Sincerely, Steve Burke

Millen

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