Are we prepared for our future potential growth?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 2004

This month marks the one year anniversary of Hwashin America Corporation's announcement to locate their Hyundai supplier plant in Greenville. While work continues on their facility and also across town at Hysco, another Tier One supplier that announced months after Hwashin, Butler County's economic development team continues to work hard to insure these announcements aren't just a flash in the pan.

Recently we published a story about Ricky McLaney, who leads the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, better known as the BCCED. In our eyes, McLaney, who by the way, doesn't even live in Butler County, has been one of the leading forces behind the recent industrial growth in Butler County. He, along with several others has spent countless hours shopping Greenville and Butler County to any industry that would listen.

Now, it seems, the tables are turned. As we've reported the city is now in the enviable position of fielding calls from commercial and retail developers who are interested in Greenville and Butler County. It seems as though the investment in time McLaney and others have made is paying off, but it's important that the city and county are preparing for the growth that will most certainly come.

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As Todd Strange, the former head of the Alabama Development Office, said during a recent visit to Greenville, first comes the industry, then the retail and then the rooftops. Is our city prepared for such growth? Do we have the proper infrastructure to handle it and a plan to locate the many retail and support jobs that will be locating in our county?

Those are questions that can only be solved through long-term planning, something we urge our city and county leaders to embark upon. If not, we could experience unmanageable growth that will lead to problems, such as overloaded water and sewer systems, access and road deterioration issues and infringement on private property due to the lack of proper zoning procedures.

Considering the alternative, growing pains are good to have, but we hope our city and county will have the right medicine for what has the potential to ail us.