News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2007


Local history lesson: Cooperation breeds success for everyone

Two stories in Thursday's Daily illustrate a point that local leaders should note: Cooperation breeds success.

Morgan County Economic Development Association President Jeremy Nails pointed to the overwhelming success of Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park on Tuesday when seeking support for a new industrial park along the Interstate 65 corridor. EDA wants support from Morgan County and all its municipalities to finance construction of the park.

"We plan to do the same thing we did at Mallard Fox Creek 20 years ago," Mr. Nails told the County Commission. "It's been a success story, and it is looked at all across the state. We get calls from others wanting to know how we got all the municipalities to come together."

The other example of cooperation relates to the expansion of Redstone Arsenal as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure process. Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce President John Seymour said the U.S. Army has noticed the cooperation among Tennessee Valley communities and asked local committee members to visit other areas of the country to demonstrate a cooperative, rather than competitive and adversarial, recruiting effort.

"We learned a lot in 1991 (the previous BRAC round that benefited Redstone)," Mr. Seymour said. "The communities were fighting each other then, and it turned people off to the entire region. Now we are taking a cooperative approach. If people ask us about something we don't have in this community, we point them to a community that has it."

The cooperation 20 years ago that led to the development of Mallard Fox Creek created a home for Worthington Steel, United Launch Alliance, Nucor Steel and others that collectively provide thousands of good-paying jobs to residents throughout the region. When community leaders agreed to set aside self-interest in favor of regional cooperation, they planted the seed that has grown into an economic development behemoth bearing fruit for all.

Continued cooperation can secure similar benefits in the future.

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