JUDGE: County hard at work on economic development plan
On Monday, April 1, I had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Robert Allen, President & CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corporation; Mr. Bryan Daniel, Executive Director of Governor Abbott’s Economic Development & Tourism; and Mr. Drayton McLane Sr. Mr. McLane arranged for the meeting to discuss economic development in Milam County.
Mr. McLane has done so much for Milam County including philanthropic projects, such as our Volunteer Fire Departments and City Hall. Probably more important, his personal commitment to make Milam County a better place for all of us.
These fine gentlemen have a lot of great ideas regarding new economic development in our county and they are willing to help us. Of course, Mr. Allen and Mr. Daniel are in the business of economic development and they know their business very well and they know what needs to be done to attract new business to the county. They invited us to Austin in the very near future for some hands-on training to assist in getting started on a countywide basis. They also offered to come to the county to meet with the business community for assistance in this most important project.
One of the basics is to develop a plan of action for the county. What county assets do we have to market, to whom do we market them and how do we do it? Big, big issues for all of us.
We have two global issues to deal with: one is the Alcoa property and the second is the rest of the county. The Alcoa property is so valuable is so many ways, due to its location and its amenities, such as water, sewage, roads, transportation and power. Undoubtedly many new businesses will spawn at the site, which will provide jobs and tax revenue for the county. However, as a county we are neither in charge of development nor the sale of the property.
The second global issue is the rest of the county. What do we have in the rest of the county to market and how should we go about it? We have a great agricultural base and Milam County could truly be the agricultural center of the state. We have to market that idea.
We must support revitalization of downtown Rockdale, Cameron and Thorndale. For example, in Cameron we need to beautify the square. The buildings around the square need work and the new 44 Farms building is the perfect example of what can be done. Moving the county employees out of the downtown buildings to make them available for business and quieting the train horns would help as well. Both of these issues are under consideration.
We need a plan. We need a plan to market this county. This is a big order, but this can done and we will do it. There is help out there for us and today was a huge first step for every one of us to make a plan. I sincerely appreciate the help and support of Mr. McLane for everything he has done for Milam County; the opportunity to meet Mr. Allen and Mr. Daniel; and for Governor Abbott’s vision to make Texas the great economic power it is today.